One of the great tools in a plaintiff lawyer’s arsenal in Illinois is the Health Care Services Lien Act, which reduces the amount of certain medical liens in some cases. It can really help increase the total amount your client ends up with in a settlement.
A new case from the 5th District, Stanton v. Rea, notes that the 40% of the settlement that goes to the medical lienholders should not be calculated until after costs have been subtracted from the settlement. In other words, the Act doesn’t mean 40% of the pie, it means 40% of the pie after costs. In some cases, that can make a big difference.
My partner, Mike Warner, just spoke on some new aspects of the Lien Act at the recent Rock Island County Bar Association Seminar. I think a thorough “how to” post is forthcoming.
(Howard Zimmerle is a personal injury lawyer in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois, helping people who have been injured due to someone else’s fault. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com).
It happens every few months. A client needs money, and has a case with me. They contact some company (typically Oasis Legal Finance) who promises to loan them money until they settle their PI or workers comp case. If they settle soon, they won’t owe much interest, they’re told. If they don’t win, they don’t owe anything, they’re told.
But I won’t let them take the loan. I have to sign off on it, and I won’t do it. Why not?
Simply put, the interest rates are ridiculous. Not 25% credit card ridiculous…. much, much worse.
Yesterday’s New York Times had an article about it with some examples. Anyone read that and still want one of these predatory loans?
(Howard Zimmerle practices personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home malpractice and workers compensation law in the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com).
What’s my case worth?
Any good lawyer knows that the answer to that question requires a lot of knowledge – knowledge not just about the facts of the case at hand but about which facts may drive the value of the case and why.
One valuable piece of the puzzle is to see what juries have done in the past with similar cases. Even that has its limitations. Obviously not all juries are the same. Different states, different counties, different judges, attorneys, juries, etc would lead to different results in most cases. The key when looking at jury verdicts is to look at trends and patterns.
The Iowa Bar Association now has a free searchable database of Iowa jury verdicts. It’s incomplete (missing some cases), and it doesn’t give you much information about the facts of most cases, but it’s something. Any weapons in your arsenal that can help you value cases (and convince insurance adjusters, attorneys or even your own clients) that the value you put in your demand is correct sure can’t hurt.
(Howard Zimmerle is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer practicing in Iowa and Illinois. You can reach him at (309) 794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com).