What can I do if attorney has been holding money in trust since 2008? 14 Answers as of November 05, 2013

Personal injury case settled. One physician hugely inflated bill for treatment. Refused to accept the amount offered. My attorney has held $4000 in trust and has several times given different "years" when this money may be paid to me as unclaimed. How long do I have to wait and is the lawyer appropriate in doing this?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C.
Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C. | Pete Leehey
Unless you agreed to pay this doctor out of your settlement monies, there is no legal requirement that the money be held. If this is the case, you should demand that your lawyer write you a check for this amount now. If that does not work out for you, I strongly suggest that you contact the Ethics Commission of the Iowa State Bar Association.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 11/5/2013
Oscar E. Toscano | Oscar E. Toscano
You probably signed a lien that authorizes the attorney to pay the doctor. The doctor has 4 years to sue on the lien since the lien was breached.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/5/2013
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
Much more information would be needed: we would need to know why the money is being held in trust in the first place, what conditions would require its release, whether the attorney has any control over those conditions, and what, if anything can or should be done about it. Five years does sound like a long time. Attorneys, as fiduciaries, have a duty to account for funds they hold.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/5/2013
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
Sounds like your attorney is acting in your best interest follow his advise.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 11/4/2013
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
This is a good question. You might want to contact the state bar to see what they have to say about this. Ordinarily a lienholder will have 4 years to file suit. So once that time period elapses, the doctor cannot sue for the services rendered. The time when the 4 years commences is debatable ? from when services were rendered or from the date he refused the offer to compromise the lien.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/5/2013
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    It is time to file a grievance.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/5/2013
    End, Hierseman & Crain, LLC | J. Michael End
    I think you should contact the State Bar of Wisconsin to find out whether what your lawyer is doing is permissible. The State Bar has an arbitration system they can use if a fight develops between a client and lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 11/4/2013
    Gregory M Janks, PC
    Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
    In Michigan, it is your own vehicle insurer that should pay any crash related medical bills. So it is not typical to pay related medical bills out of the settlement of the personal injury/3rd party case, but rather to pay them out of the PIP/1st party case. So you likely need to get this concept straightened out in your mind by contacting your attorney for an explanation of the above. If there is indeed a valid lien held by a doctor, and the doctor will not settle on what you/your attorney consider to be a reasonable amount, then it is indeed proper for your attorney to hold the funds in escrow until there is a resolution of the lien. The doctor has 6 years within which to sue (contract statute) you for any unpaid bills. If the doctor doesn't sue within that time, then your attorney should be able to release the funds. Alternatively, you could ask your attorney to file a declaratory action vs. the doctor to ascertain the amount and reasonableness of the bill, but you would then have to pay for the attorney time, court costs, litigation costs, etc. and the economics of same probably wouldn't make sense. However, these are all things to discuss with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/31/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    File a complaint with the bar association. That may get his attention.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 10/31/2013
    Vasilaros Legal,LLC
    Vasilaros Legal,LLC | Steven T. Vasilaros
    You have waited too long. If you and the Doctor cannot agree on his payment, your attorney can and should pay the money into the registry of the court and file a legal action known as an inpleader. Both you and the Doctor will then present your side to the Judge and the court will make final decision regarding distribution. This does cost money though, and bot you and the Doctor would be best served, at this point if you could agree among'st yourselves.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/31/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    You and your lawyer are holding the money and refusing to pay the doctor his bill how is that unclaimed? Pay the doctors bill, or litigate it with him and get on with it. Surely your lawyer can handle this.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/31/2013
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    The lawyer must reserve only what is necessary to pay the bill. Clearly he isn't negotiated with the doctor who would have wanted his money long ago. If a deal isn't cut the lawyer should just pay it and should immediately give you the difference. If something is wrong, make a complaint to the bar association.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/31/2013
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    We all face this same problem and there is no good solution except to hold the money until the lien is no longer effective. Your lawyer is doing what is best for you and himself. Be patient.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 10/31/2013
    Abel & Zocolo Co., LPA | Jack W. Abel
    I would direct your inquiry to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association?
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 11/1/2013
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney