OVER 400 Legal Answers to Frequently Asked Questions to a Variety of California Injury Issues and Legal Problems Associated with California Accidents

What is my case worth? What should I do after a bicycle accident? My car's brakes didn't function properly, do I have a case? Should I sign the insurance company's proposal? Some of your questions may have been answered already on Mark Blane's website. However, San Diego county accidents happen all the time, and all sorts of different questions about different injury scenarios can be raised by a person who is injured. As a result, this personal injury website is dedicated to answering your frequently asked questions about a variety of injuries, your legal rights, and what procedures you should follow. Just browse our frequently asked questions (FAQ) section (below) and look them up. If you have other or more specific questions, just send an email (Contact Us) and you will receive a reply without delay!

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  • 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.

  • CALIFORNIA MEDICAL PAY BENEFITS: Can my Medical Pay benefits, under my auto policy, come after me directly to get reimbursed from my California personal injury settlement - and if so, how are they able to do so? What if I had an attorney on my case and he or she forgets to reimburse them?

    Yes, they can - it is called a subrogation lien right, and they can do it in a few different ways.
     
    First, they can wait (as they usually do) until your California personal injury case settles. Depending on if you used an injury attorney will depend on what California state law arguments you can use to reduce their "lien interest."

    Second, if they want, and your case has been filed in court, they hire their own attorney(s) and intervene on your injury case to make sure their lien interest is protected - but this cost money for them and it is not cost effective since Medical Pay lien amounts are usually under $10,000.00; so usually they wait for settlement or judgment and ask for reimbursement from you (you and your attorney will be sent letters reminding you all of their lien interest).

    If you fail to pay them back, they can go after you personally - including your lawyer (potentially) because he or she will be said to have had "constructive notice" (should have known about it) of their lien interest. If the amount is low, they will either send you to collections or even California small claims court!  If your lawyer did not reimburse them you can go after your lawyer for professional legal malpractice (negligence).

    Here is the law on it in California:
     

    Progressive West Ins. Co. v Yolo County Superior Court, 135 Cal.App.4th 263 (2005) Case arising out of med pay reimbursement. Held that in personal injury cases, insurer cannot assert its subrogation claim directly against 3d party tortfeasor. Insurer may intervene in 3d party action or wait to seek reimbursement out of the recovery. If the insurer does not intervene in 3d party action, its right to recover is limited by the "make whole" rule to recover only after the insured has recouped his loss and some or all of his litigation expenses. Ct held that both reimbursement rights and subro rights fall under the rubric of subro and are therefore both subject to "make whole" doctrine. The insurance contract may waive the "make whole" rule but it must do so by clearly and specifically giving the insurer priority out of the proceeds regardless of whether insured was made whole. Insured here filed a 17200 action for the alleged unfair business practice of the insurer seeking full med pay reimbursement without regard to the "make whole" and common fund doctrine. The court affirmed the trial court's denial of insurer's demurrer to the 17200 action for unfair business practices.
     

    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.

     

     

     

  • CALIFORNIA "MEDICAL PAY" BENEFITS IN A CAR ACCIDENT CASE: Why do some insurance companies deny California "Medical Pay" Claims?

    In every injury case prior to denying a claim for California Medical Pay benefits, the insurance carrier must provide the insured with a written explanation of coverage under the policy, and include a notice that the carrier may deny, limit or terminate benefits if the carrier determines that the medical or hospital services are:

    1. Not reasonable;
    2. Not necessary;
    3. Not related to the accident; or
    4. Not incurred within 3 years of the accident.

    The insurance carrier’s decision to deny, limit, or terminate the claimant’s California Medical Pay benefits must be based on the review and opinion of a medical or healthcare professional. 

     

    More Legal Questions About Car & Motorcycle Accidents?

    Do you have more legal questions about car & motorcycle accident cases?  Return to the Auto & Motorcycle accidents in California Frequently Asked Legal Questions page.