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Does Sam have a "true" legal cause to sue her attorney for malpractice if he didn't submit her bills to the insurance company?

Washington, DC |

Not only did Sam’s attorney not submit her bills, but he also encouraged her to only seek medical attention from physicians he referred her to. (Which she now knows are his college buddies.) Her attorney says the personal injury protection coverage didn’t apply to her. The state where the accident occurred doesn’t recognize the coverage but something similar. The car insurance company wouldn’t correspond with Sam because she has an attorney. Trusting her attorney Sam did everything she was told including submitting all medical bills to his office & letting him do his job. Now she has a tremendous amount of debit & she is not going to be able to use her car coverage or health insurance due to the lack of support and advice from her attorney.

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Attorney answers 3


This reads like a fact pattern a teacher wrote for an exam. Please don't ask Avvo lawyers to do your take-home exams for you.

Marc Edward Stewart

Marc Edward Stewart




You have not given enough information here for a proper response. Since you are from D.C., perhaps Sam is from D.C. also. In that case, and if Sam's accident was in D.C., she would not have sought PIP in all liklihood if she wanted to pursue a case against the other driver. I hope you are not suggesting that Sam received medical care that she did not need. In any event, Sam could call me if she would like more information.


I'm not a D.C. attorney, but my guess on this would be: it depends on what her settlement was. If the car insurance policy paid the entire policy limit, then it wouldn't matter if her damages (including medical bills) wildly exceed the settlement as the policy limit was likely all she would ever extract out of the defendant anyway. But if the medical bills were, say, $25,000 but the case settled for just $2,000, now you might have a scenario where the attorney should have "submitted" the bills. I'm not sure what "submitted" means here in the way you use it.

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