Usually, "yes". Check the retainer agreement to see if the attorney's fee is based upon the "gross amount of the settlement" or the "net after paying medical expenses".
We have been involved in situations where we have recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for a client (usually policy limits and/or questioned liability) who has two to ten times that amount in medical bills. If the attorney didn't get paid before paying medical bills there would be no attorney fee what so ever. In those types of cases, an injured person couldn't get an attorney to collect the few hundred thousand for them if the attorney wasn't going to be paid for his work and expertise.
The usual case is an attorney's fee is based upon the gross recovery, the full amount recovered.
You can check with the Bar Association in RI to see if there are any special rules that apply to your specific situation.
Bisnar|Chase, Personal Injury Attorneys
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