Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

I am . a physical therapy owner. I had signed a lein that stated the lawyer would pay me within 30 days of the settlement being issued on my patients bill. The attorney offered less and I sent the check back I want full bill not less. Should I take the attorney or the patient to small claims court they owe 4,250.

Asked on 6/12/18, 11:24 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Michael Stone-Molloy The Lion's Law Office

I'm not going to tell you what to do, but don't you think it's unfair that you should benefit from the attorney's collection work without contributing anything? Legally, there is a thing called the "common fund" doctrine which might require you to reduce your bill in proportion to your share of the legal fees and costs. Also, from a business perspective, any physical therapist that tried to pull this "pay my bill in full" crap on one of MY cases would never EVER get another case from me.

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Answered on 6/12/18, 11:35 am
Armen Tashjian Law Offices of Armen M. Tashjian

While I thoroughly agree with my colleague, I'd like to add the following: (1) you have no cause of action against the lawyer. If you sue the lawyer you may face a malicious prosecution lawsuit; so tread carefully. (2) demanding full payment where the recovery may very well be limited invites litigation as to the reasonableness of the charges. If I am the lawyer for the patient, I will take a very close look as to the reasonableness of the PT charges, including the necessity or lack thereof of the treatment. So, consider working with your patient rather than suing him/her.

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Answered on 6/12/18, 10:13 pm

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