Save yourself liability when settling BI claims.
Routinely use a Plaintiff's Request for Medical Bill Amount — before giving final settlement advice.
Medical liens are created by statute or by specific actions of the medical provider, or even by your actions. Statutes or case law probably make you - an attorney - personally responsible to pay those medical liens out of the settlement funds. (And personally liable if you don't!)
Plaintiff's Request for Medical Bill Amount gives you:
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This form is for plaintiff's bodily injury attorneys. Making the final decisions to settle - a bodily injury plaintiff needs to know how much of the settlement money will go to medical providers instead of to him/her. The client is unhappy if a BI settlement is made and the entire settlement proceeds goes to pay the attorney’s fee and the doctors’ bills, leaving nothing for the client! That's the scenario for some of the legal malpractice claims in the courts.
What the client needs to know, you as a plaintiff’s BI attorney need to know.
It is now common that as a condition of providing medical treatment without immediate payment , the client's medical provider demands a letter of protection from the attorney. The law is substantially established nationally that any letter of protection makes you (as a plaintiff’s lawyer who gets the settlement check to pass to the plaintiff) a trustee for the client's medical provider. You are personally liable to the medical providers to see that they are paid - before your client.
Don’t be caught short by relying on outdated bills in your file. Protect yourself from an unexpected bill amount by making a specific inquiry of all medical providers in regard to the amount of their unpaid bill. Do that during the time of the final settlement negotiations (or immediately before the trial).
Plaintiff's Request for Medical Bill Amount is designed to maximize the chance you will receive a quick response from the medical provider, and get that response in a written (fax) communication rather than a phone call. Having received the written assurance of the medical provider what the amount of the unpaid bill is, both the client and you (importantly) are in a position to prevent claims for more.
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