CALIFORNIA COMMON FUND DEFENSE: Does the California Common Fund Doctrine apply in cases where my medical care was covered in part or in full by my auto insurance carrier known as my "medical pay benefits" provision? How does this relate to my California personal injury settlement?

Yes, it does.

If part or all of your medical care was covered by your auto insurance under medical pay benefits, then yes, your lawyer can argue the common fund doctrine defense to lower their (medical pay) insurance lien reimbursement request from you in order to dramatically increase your net recovery in a California personal injury settlement.  This is just another reason why good California personal injury attorneys are needed on these types of issues in order to protect injured persons, and get them the most net recovery possible from a personal injury settlement!

Here is some California case law on this FAQ:


Lee v. State Farm 57 Cal.App.3d 458 (1976)
 Common fund doctrine applies to reduce a carrier's claim for med pay reimbursement by its pro rata share of plaintiff's attorneys fees and costs.

Bartlett v. Pacific National Bank 110 Cal.App.2d 683,689; Hendricks v. Superior Ct., 197 Cal.App.2d 586, 589 Attorneys contingent fee contract gives attorney a lien on his client's recovery. 37. Cetenko v. United California Bank, 30 Cal.3d 528 (1982) Statutory lien does not take precedence over a prior attorneys fee lien unless statute otherwise provides.

Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Auto Accident Attorney, and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Firm devoted to representing families of injured persons of automobile accidents. If you or someone you love, has been injured or killed in San Diego County, or Southern California, due to the negligence of another, please order your FREE copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information, insights, and secrets that will help you protect your legal rights.  It normally sells for $16.95; however, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.

Mark Blane
Founder of The Law Offices of Mark Blane, APC