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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Statutory Lien

Whatever difficulties a doctor may encounter in collecting a bill owed by a patient who was negligently injured, he is assured of as much as $500 under Virginia law. Section § 8.01-66.2 of the Virginia code provides for a lien for his "just and reasonable charge" up to that amount on the claim of an injured person whose injuries are alleged to have been caused by another's negligence.

In order to assert your lien, send copies of your bills to the attorney representing the patient. If the attorney is uncooperative (refusing to sign a lien/assignment), it might be prudent to send copies to the negligent party's insurance company.

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The above is not meant to replace legal counsel. If you'd like to speak to one of Gross & Romanick's personal injury lawyers, please call us today at 703-273-1400 or fill out our online information request form here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Should You Cash That Check?

You receive a check for less than the amount owed from a company. The company has stated that they owe you less than you contend is owed. Should you cash the check?

Virginia Law: In the 2002 case of Gelles & Sons General Contracting, Inc. v. Jeffrey Stack Inc., the Virginia Supreme Court for the first time interpreted Virginia Code �8.3A-311 which is a 1992 statute enacted to address the issue of cashing such checks. According to the Supreme Court opinion, the test is whether "a reasonable person" would consider the check to be a tender in full satisfaction of the claim.

Facts of Case: A general contractor ("general") and its subcontractor ("sub") dispute the amount owed by the general to the sub. The general wrote two letters to the sub setting out its position and included a check with the second letter which stated that it represented "final payment". The sub cashed the check but sued for the balance it claimed was due. The trial court found (and the Virginia Supreme Court agreed) that the letter and check was a "drop-dead letter" offer of final payment. By cashing the check, the sub could not sue for any additional sums.

Advice: If there is a question about whether a check is tendered as final payment, look at the correspondence and notations on the check to determine the intent of the maker. Cashing checks may be risky if there is some evidence for an accord and satisfaction.

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The above is not meant to replace legal counsel. If you'd like to speak to one of Gross & Romanick's lawyers, please contact us by calling 703-273-1400 or by filling out this Information Request form.