Can I have the check for my PIP? 13 Answers as of July 22, 2013

I was in an auto accident, hit head on and the other driver assumed total responsibility. His insurance has paid majority of medical bills and my personal health insurance a few. My insurance company issued me a check for the total amount of my PIP (Personal Insurance Protection) policy from my auto insurance and sent it to my attorney. He is telling me that I cannot have it. My insurance agent and a second attorney said that I could. The attorney handling the auto accident wants me to sign the check so that he can place it in a trust.

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Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Did you hire the lawyer? Then the lawyer gets the money and pays the bills.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/22/2013
Gregory M Janks, PC
Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
In Michigan it is your car insurer that pays for the medical care and treatment, not the other parties insurer. If both your insurer and his insurer paid the bills, his insurer will ask for reimbursement. It is likely your attorney is suggesting holding the payment by your insurer in his trust account to cover the other insurer finding out about the error and requesting reimbursement. Usually the other insurer would not pay for medicals unless you advised them you had no available PIP coverage and you were either a pedestrian/bicyclist or you were not the owner of the vehicle involved. Further, your health insurer may also have a claim for reimbursement as to the bills they paid, as again, it is your PIP insurer that should pay all crash related medical bills. This would be another reason to hold the $ until any lien/reimbursement claims are sorted out.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/19/2013
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
Ask the attorney why you can not have the check.? Does he think your insurance will try to get an of the money back so he wants to hold it for eventual reimbursement to your insurance company
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/19/2013
Law Offices of Andrew C. Sigal | Andrew C. Sigal
I am not exactly clear on the facts of your situation. If the check your first attorney is holding on to is made payable to you and your attorney, then the attorney must deposit the check in his/her "attorney client trust account." Once in the attorney client trust account, the attorney will write the checks to pay for any outstanding medical bills, the attorney's costs, the attorney's fees and the net balance goes to you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/19/2013
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
There is more to the story that you are not telling us. All creditor must be paid before you see any money. Your attorney is correct that the money go into his Trust.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/18/2013
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Without knowing the facts of your case, I cannot say whether it should be held in trust. Usually, your health insurer and doctors have a lien on any proceeds from an insurance claim related to the accident and the attorney must hold the funds in his trust account until the liens are settled. I do not know if PIP proceeds are exempt from these liens as PIP is not common in South Carolina and I have not had to deal with it in my career. I think the question to ask the agent and other attorney is whether PIP is somehow exempt from health insurance and medical liens, or ask you attorney what the money is being held for.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Vasilaros Legal,LLC
    Vasilaros Legal,LLC | Steven T. Vasilaros
    Depending the type of health insurance you have, the company may very well claim a lien for monies they paid out on your behalf. In that case, the PIP funds would be used to pay down that lien in that PIP is always the Primary Payor in auto cases. Accordingly, it sounds as if your attorney is doing the absolute right thing in placing these funds in trust pending determination of all liens and bills.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Julie Butcher Law Office
    Julie Butcher Law Office | Julie A. Butcher
    This is not the answer you want, but your attorney is probably right and should place the money in an escrow account. The way PIP works (in Kentucky) is that it provides payment for MVA related medical expenses and a portion of wage replacements without regard to fault. PIP is primary which means that the PIP carrier is responsible for medical bills first until the PIP coverage is exhausted (used up). Then, the health insurance is responsible secondarily. The liability insurance is then responsible for all damages, including the medical expenses up to their policy limits and depending on the proof and value of damages. The problem is really the health insurance subrogation. I don't know how much your health insurance company paid, but in most instances they have a right to recover (subrogation) that money from the at-fault driver, his insurance and even you! Some of those contracts say they get reimbursed first out of your settlement and without regard to your cost of recovery (attorney fees, etc). If you do not pay them back or allow your attorney to negotiate with them, they can deny your future benefits, sue you and your attorney. On the other hand, I have been able to get my clients their entire PIP check when their lost wages alone would have used up the PIP. In Kentucky, we can direct the PIP carrier how to pay benefits. In any event, you should be talking directly to your attorney to get his explanation!
    Answer Applies to: Kentucky
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Don't have any idea what you are talking about. The only thing I can think of is that some medical bills need to be paid get you a lawyer you trust and tell him the whole story it is obvious you don't trust this one.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC | Matthew D Kaplan
    It should only be used for your bills and none of it should go to your attorneys fees or costs.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    A. Dawn Hayes & Assoc. P.A.
    A. Dawn Hayes & Assoc. P.A. | A. Dawn Hayes
    You deserve an explanation. Ask your attorney to explain to you why you cannot have at least part of the money. Your attorney may be holding it to use part to cover the costs of litigation or your personal health insurance or a medical provider may have a lien on any money you receive.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    John Russo | John Russo
    If you have a fee agreement with the attorney read it the language is controlling, what is going on here is that the attorney wants to be paid and that's the check that their fee's will come from, the check is most likely made out to both parties. Under our rules of professional responsibility in my jurisdiction, if the above is factual then the attorney is not wrong.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    The Lariscy Law Firm, PC
    The Lariscy Law Firm, PC | Joseph E. Lariscy, III
    If this is truly your PIP, he may be required to pay medical liens from your settlement. The PIP coverage would allow it to not come out of your settlement from the at-fault insurance company and allow more funds to go back to you. For more information, speak to your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/18/2013
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