When there is a car accident and the case has settled by a personal injury lawyer, the money is ready to be given out. The victim needs their money as soon as possible to pay bills and other creditors. It is then that a putative creditor usually appears wanting some of the money. They are not legitimate, but it happens.
Lawyers Know This Is a Common Problem
They have their client, which is the victim wanting to know why the putative creditor is calling them to hand over their money. The lawyer knows that they are not enforceable or have a legal right to the money. The putative creditor does not have a equitable or matured, legal claim.
The Lawyer Becomes Stuck between the Client and the Putative Creditor
Since the lawyer is required to watch over the funds, they are in a tough spot. What is the lawyer able to do in these types of cases?
• They can take a look at the putative creditor’s information, and determine whether there is an equitable or matured, legal claim. The lawyer can make a mistake, and if they do, they can receive a complaint at the bar or have an angry client.
• If the lawyer finds the client to be wrong, they can file a claim against them. This would be a declaratory relief action or an interpleader. In this case, the lawyer would say the creditor has a right to some of the money.
• They can also make a payment to the creditor per the client’s permission. This payment would just be so that the putative creditor would go away.
January 1, 2014 Provides Another Option To The Mix
This particular option is another way that lawyers in Arizona can deal with a third party wanting part of the money given to a plaintiff in an accident case. The lawyer can hold onto the money until an agreement can be reached between the parties. Then, a court order decides where the money will go to. In the section ER 1.15(f), after written notice by the lawyer to the third party and no written response by the third party in 90 days, they can give the money to the plaintiff. This is a big deal for lawyers that find themselves in this type of situation.
1. The meaning behind it is that lawyers cannot decide that a third party has an equitable or matured, legal claim to the money. The terms were not clearly defined before.
2. Lawyers in this situation are not without recourse. A third party must follow the rules if they want a part of the money.
3. It is beneficial to lawyers because they won’t have to go to the expense that they used to. Before, they would have to file a suit against the third party.
ER 1.15(f) Notices And What Else You Should Know
1. It is meant to help lawyers avoid mistakes that are ethical. This will not assist the lawyer if the creditor has a legal right to the money.
2. The lawyer may only distribute the money after the 90-day period is given to the third part creditor. If it is prohibited by a court order, the money may not be given to the plaintiff.
The Reason For The ER 1.15(f)
The reason for the ER 1.15(f) is to give the lawyer another option when they are dealing with a third party that wants the money that is to go to their plaintiff. They are able to have something else that they can do in order to make an ethical and legal decision on where the money is to go. In many cases, it can get very complicated, and the ER 1.15(f) was made to assist lawyers in tough situations so they can make the best decision possible.
For great personal injury and car accident lawyers in Phoenix, Cantor Crane has the best. They are experienced and knowledgeable in what they do. With car accidents, they know how to operate and get the money that is owed to the plaintiff. The car accident lawyers in Phoenix at Cantor Crane will listen intently to the situation with a free consultation to determine the best course of action to take. Contact us today at (602) 254-2701.