Q: Hi, can an attorney send a client part of a settlement if there is a hold up from a provider regarding the amount?
I have a large settlement from a car accident and my attorney has been going back and forth with a provider which is delaying me getting my check. Is he able to send part of the settlement to me while that gets worked out?
Edit- no mistrust to my attorney at all. I just didn’t want to bother him if this isn’t a possibility. I’m just curious if he’s able to send me part of the settlement now and the rest after it is settled.
A: It sounds like there is an issue of mistrust of your lawyer, who apparently did a good job of obtaining a large settlement for you. Why? Is he not adequately communicating with you regarding the reason for his/her decision to keep all funds in the trust account until the provider's lien is settled? If so, discuss the communication problem with your lawyer. If he gave an explanation, but you did not fully understand it, or it did not make total sense, advise him that you need to get a better understanding or need more information. It is his job to fully disclose to you the bases for his actions (including applicable legal authorities, if you need it) in addition to fully protecting your interests in the matter. The Fla. Bar Rules of Professional Conduct and possibly Fla. Bar Ethics Opinions apply to your issue. They might require your lawyer to take the action that he is taking. (I would need to review same in order to be certain.)
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
A: In the past, I have distributed from my trust account the clients share to the client minus the “disputed amount” that any third party medical lien holder is claiming. It is not unethical to do this, in my opinion, because the lien holder is still protected.
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
A: It could depend on the situation. It would help if the attorney has something in writing from the lienholder. Most attorneys are interested in keeping their clients happy and releasing the funds of their awards sooner than later. At the same time, attorneys can be hesitant if they are uncertain about the possible conduct of the lienholder. Some lienholders are more easy-going than others, where they could agree to a reduction or waive certain fees, while some might be more aggressive in asserting their liens. An attorney could choose to act with caution and release client funds only after they're certain that the lienholder issue is fully concluded with no loose strings, in the form of further possible demands that could stem from misunderstandings. Good luck
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