Academy of Chiropractic’s Doctors PI Program
Lawyers & Medical Infrastructure #145
From the Desk of :
Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
“Get Paid on Liens”
The Disbursement Game
What are disbursements?
Attorneys charge clients for disbursements. These disbursements may be court fees, fees for court transcripts, for deposition transcripts, for photocopying, for telefaxes, for telephone service, for computerized legal research, for postage, for messengers, for meals, for lodging, and for other necessities.
Disbursements are the costs incurred by your lawyer. Disbursements are charged above and beyond the general legal service fees charged by a lawyer. There is no set fee for the carrying out of the legal work so this fee will vary greatly. Disbursements involve a variety of activities carried out by a lawyer during the process.
These will include such activities and processes as:
- the obtaining of various certificates from the government (such as carrying out a title search from the relevant land titles office) and other public authorities (such as local council, road, electricity, and water authorities);
- court filing fees
- administrative expenses such as photocopying, mailing and attending of hearings
A disbursement is a payment made on behalf of another person for which reimbursement in the future is expected. In a law suit, disbursements may be made by a lawyer on behalf of a client for expenses such as filing fees, expert medical reports, private investigator reports, photocopying and courier costs and the like. An executor, guardian, trustee, or other accountant, is said to have made disbursements when paying expenses of an estate which he holds. When properly made, such disbursements are reimbursed in the settlement of the accounts. Disbursements may also be made by government officials.
As you can see by the above definitions, disbursements are fees incurred by the lawyers and are legitimate and real and can be clearly documented. HOWEVER…
Let’s talk about your disbursements:
1. Copying fees
2. Headrest paper
3. Cleaning fees
4. Toilet paper
5. Staff for chart management
The point is, the lawyer will receive the client once or twice in the relationship and beyond that the work is independent and sporadic at best. You on the other hand will have that same client, now the patient in your office 10-20-30 times in your office and you have to PAY for that patient to be in your office and those are your disbursements and they are REAL. Someone has to pay for the toilet paper! I am not being sarcastic, I am being real in dollars and cents.
Therefore, when a lawyer negotiates your bill in determining settlement value, your formula stays constant; you will never take more than 1/3 of the total settlement and the rest is detailed clearly in consultations located at Infrastructure #62 - #63.
When the lawyer tells you that your share is after his disbursements, the answer is NO because you too have your own disbursements and they are not calculated into the equation. This is also why you need to calculate the percentage of overhead as many times the lawyer wants you to take less than it costs you to treat the patient. In other words, you are paying the patient to get well and that is certainly not fair or equitable.
SO… your fees are determined without the lawyer getting paid off the top… That is called FAIR!!!!