Because auto accident-related case settlements or trials often take place long after medical treatment has been administered to the injured parties, a medical provider is entitled to place a lien, or claim, against the injured party’s monetary settlement or court-awarded damages for the unpaid medical bills.
What is a Lien?
A lien is a type of pre-emptive claim that a creditor (someone to whom money is owed) makes against future financial proceeds received by a debtor to be compensated for money owed by the debtor—you might have heard of tax liens placed against a home sale for unpaid taxes or bankruptcy liens. Illinois recognizes liens asserted by medical creditors including hospitals, physicians, physical therapists, and chiropractors. A lien is considered to be a legal interest in a particular cause of action, so liens need to be addressed before the settlement or award proceeds can be distributed to the plaintiff.
Under Illinois’s Health Care Services Lien Act (770 ILCS 23/10), the total amount of all medical liens from different creditors involved in the treatment of the plaintiff cannot exceed 40 percent of the plaintiff’s recovery of damages. The statute divides medical lien-holders into “health care providers” (such as hospitals) and “health care professionals” (such as physicians). If the lien amount is greater than 40 percent of the total recovery, each category of lien-holder is capped at receiving 20 percent of the recovery. Additionally, neither providers nor professionals separately may have a lien amounting to more than one-third of the injured party's recovery.
An Illinois auto accident attorney can explain more detail about the medical lien law in Illinois and advise you as to how the law impacts settlement funds.
Liens on Auto Accident Cases can be a Big Deal
A medical lien is a secured interest in your case and is legally binding. Your failure to address the presence of a lien can create big problems for you in the future. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC regularly negotiates physician, chiropractic, Medicare, hospital, and health insurance liens on behalf of our clients. The reduction of medical liens not only puts more settlement money into your pocket, but it also gives you the peace of mind that the bill was properly negotiated and paid.
Upon the resolution of every client’s case, we provide you with a copy of the lien reduction correspondence as well as copy of the check that was sent to the provider.
Do You Have Questions About a Medical Lien in an Illinois Car Accident Case?
The world of medical liens can be difficult to navigate if you have not dealt with them before. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, our staff is familiar with all types of liens in personal injury cases. When you retain our firm for your personal injury case, you can rest assured that our office will work tirelessly to ensure that all lien-holder interest is satisfied and reduced to the fullest extent of the law.