07-03 A lawyer who is advised of a client’s execution of an agreement with a medical provider that directs the lawyer to pay for the provider’s services from the proceeds of a claim for personal injuries on which the lawyer is representing the client, is not required to formally acknowledge the agreement and may not sign it unless the client so directs.
Upon receipt of the settlement funds, the lawyer should (1) deposit the funds in a client trust account; (2) notify the client; (3) advise the client that the lawyer appears to have a duty to notify the provider and that the agreement signed by the client includes a direction to the lawyer to pay any balance due to the provider prior to distributing funds to the client.
Unless the client directs, the lawyer is not required to notify the medical provider of the receipt of the settlement funds. However, the funds should be kept separate until there is an accounting and severance of the respective interests of the client, provider and the lawyer. No funds may be disbursed until there is a resolution of any dispute concerning the amounts due to the respective parties.
96-05 It is impermissible for a Lawyer representing personal injury claimants to execute a proposed “Medical Lien” form from client’s health care provider agreeing to protect the interests of the health care provider, if to do so may place Lawyer in conflict with client’s interests.