Editor's Note: This opinion was originally published as RPC 228 (Revised).
Indemnifying the Tortfeasor's Liability Insurance Carrier for Unpaid Liens of Medical Providers as a Condition of Settlement
Opinion rules that a lawyer for a personal injury victim may not execute an agreement to indemnify the tortfeasor's liability insurance carrier against the unpaid liens of medical providers.
Attorney A represents Client A who was injured in an automobile collision caused by the negligence of Mr. X. Mr. X has liability insurance with Insurance Carrier. Attorney A negotiated a settlement of Client A's claim with Insurance Carrier for a sum certain. However, Insurance Carrier's settlement offer is conditioned upon the execution by Attorney A and Client A of an indemnity agreement in addition to the traditional general release. In the indemnity agreement, Attorney A would agree to indemnify Insurance Carrier against all claims Insurance Carrier might sustain as a result of any outstanding medical lien incurred by Client A as a result of the accident. The agreement requires Insurance Carrier to notify Attorney A of all medical provider claims or liens of which Insurance Carrier has actual or constructive knowledge. Is it ethical for Attorney A to sign the indemnity agreement as a part of the settlement of Client A's claim?
No. Rule 5.1(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
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