Mesh Medical Device News Desk, December 21, 2016~ Is your law firm responsive to your questions pertaining to your pelvic mesh lawsuit? Do they return your calls? Have you received your settlement?
Recently “Suzy” called your editor with a concern ( she does not want her real name used because she is represented in pelvic mesh litigation).
She had received about $15,000 from a mesh lawsuit settlement with a major mesh manufacturer. That was in May. Since then, her Midwest law firm promised more money was coming after “subrogation” and the other potential liens were explored and settled. That might include medical bills, Medicare, Medicaid etc.
Subrogation refers to the principle that someone who pays another person for damage caused by a third person, has a right to recover those payments from that third person who caused the damage; if the victim recovers an amount from the third person, the party who paid for the damage has a right to be paid back out of that recovery. Subrogation would apply in the mesh cases as in any other case: Third-party payers (Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurers) have and will assert a right to be reimbursed out of the victims’ recovery against the defendants. See more here.
Suzy says there are no other potential liens on her judgment which she figured she would eventually total $35,000, or half of her settlement amount.
Instead, she cannot get her calls returned. She had not heard a thing from the firm since May. She is beginning to wonder if there is any more money forthcoming or if “expenses” and “set aside funds” will drain the remainder.
It’s bad enough that the law firm is taking half of her $75,000. For what, she asks? They filed a short form in her case and aside from mailing expenses and retrieving her medical records, have done nothing substantial to push her case through the system.
Why then is the going rate for most of the lawsuits in the MDL 40%. Wasn’t multidistrict litigation supposed to make less work for everyone? Was that 40% taken off the top and the law firm has been paid while she waits for her money?
Why are some injured clients paying 33 and one-third? Who is paying into the common benefits work done by a few law firms to be compensated by the fund? Doe she pay the 5% or the law firm?
To them she is just a number. No one at the law firm has taken an interest in her story. She doesn’t even know if they have all of her medical records.
These are excellent questions for the American Bar Association, which your editor will forward on.
Clients can ask their state Bar Associations what are the rules for dealing with a client. Is it professional conduct never to return a call? Just how long can a law firm hold onto settlement dollars? Is the money in a fund? If so, is it yielding interest and if so, who is receiving that interest?
Does a law firm have to account for its “expenses” in the case? Do those have to be “reasonable” expenses that show expenditures along the line of what you, the client, would spend? No private jets and first class to Europe tickets for two in the course of allegedly working up your case.
For the consumer – make sure your firm has ALL of your medical records and keep the originals for yourself. Make sure your firm is up-to-date on ALL of your medical procedures and conditions.
Unfortunately, Suzy’s story is not an uncommon one. Your editor hears about this daily.
Please add your experiences here and your response from your state Bar Association. This story is in production!