Although this case has not received a lot of general public attention, the recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Zaleppa vs. Seiwell was a huge win for injured persons in the personal injury field.

Here is what the issue was. Assume your personal injury case settles for, let’s say, $100,000. You have received Medicare payments as part of your medical treatment. Medicare wants reimbursed for the costs that they paid out.

The insurance company who is writing the $100,000 check wants to cover themselves. They do not want to pay the $100,000 and the Medicare lien that has to be repaid. Therefore, the insurance company, in many cases, was requiring any settlement check be made out to you the injured party, your attorney and Medicare.

This created a huge headache for you as the injured party. The reason for that is trying to get Medicare to sign the check in a timely fashion is a near impossibility. Add to that dilemma the fact that if the check was sent to Medicare it might not be returned to the plaintiff’s attorney for a long long time and you see why this was creating such a problem.

The insurance company would not budge and required that Medicare’s name be on the settlement check. The plaintiff’s attorney could not agree to that because it would mean that the payment to the client might take a year or more, once Medicare was involved in it.

What plaintiff’s counsel, including myself, often have tried to do as a way to get around this issue, was to tell the insurance company that we would be personally responsible for making sure that Medicare was paid back their lien. In other words, if for whatever reason Medicare wasn’t paid, Medicare could pursue a claim against the attorney or the plaintiff, but not the insurance company. We thought that would solve the problem. Wrong! Often times the insurance company still would not send the check under those circumstances. They wanted to be completely exonerated from any potential liability to Medicare.

That’s why this case was such a huge victory for injured parties. What the Superior Court said was that the insurance company could not require Medicare’s name be placed on a settlement check. No more long long delays getting the check after your case settles!!

What is also helpful to you is that there is now a legal procedure to insure that once we send the signed release to the defendant or the insurance company, that they have a certain amount of days to deliver the check to us. If they do not deliver the check within the certain time period, they can be required to pay interest and attorney fees for the delay.

I used this procedure recently and I must say it worked like magic!!

I was basically getting the run around from the insurance company about where the check was. I filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement with the Court. The Court signed the Order and required the insurance company to pay attorney’s fees and costs for filing the Motion. Incredibly, within two days of the Order being signed, the check was in my office!!

Now that’s progress.