Is it proper procedure for an attorney to take out their fee’s if a settlement has awarded but the case is not over?

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Is it proper procedure for an attorney to take out their fee’s if a settlement has awarded but the case is not over?

I spoke with an attorney back in 2007 regarding not being properly represented in an injury that occurred in 2006. The attorney told me that he would represent me and that I should sue the town I lived in. The attorney did sue and the settlement was $30,000. I have not received any of that money. I was told the money would be in escrow until the Workers Compensation Board comes up with the percentage that they want me to pay back. But about 6 months later that same attorney told me they took their fee out ($9,600). I did not authorize or sign any papers for that to be done. There is $16, 000 in an escrow account.  The case isn’t completely over because I am still in court regarding the Worker’s Compensation Board (trying to find out what percentage I have to pay back to them.)

Asked on January 2, 2011 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to review your contract with the attorney and contact the New York State Bar. Every state is different but generally speaking lawyers can take out the itemized fees for their expenses in different parts of the representation.  This could simply be the case here but you need to find out a few things first.  First, review your contract. Next, ask for an itemized bill and when certain monies were taken out.  Third, contact the state bar and find out if he has a disciplinary record.  If things are still not looking up, file a complaint with the New York State Bar against him and consider hiring new counsel to finish up your case.


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