You might experience significant personal injury in an accident that requires extensive medical treatment in an emergency room, hospital, or long-term facility. Medical bills can rack up quickly and you may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit or multiple personal injury cases with a personal injury lawyer to make up the cost of the medical care.
However, if you choose to do that, and if a personal injury settlement materializes, you must know that the insurance or medical provider may have already or may in the future file a medical lien on that compensation.
This is a legal right of claim (a lien is a demand) stating that they are owed money because they performed services for you, did not get paid, and the defendant should legally pay for them through the settlement.
Further, their medical lien will most likely articulate that the lien holder should recover money for medical costs and services from the settlement directly to them and not through you.
The following sections review medical liens in more detail as they relate to a personal injury case and subsequent personal injury settlement. You will most likely encounter them from a health insurance company, medical provider, or similar entity.
Contact us to get a free consultation from a lawyer at our law firm today. We may be able to get compensation paid to you in an accident claim. Our attorneys can negotiate with the insurance company provider on behalf of the injured through an attorney client relationship.
What Exactly is a Lien?
A “lien” is a special notice to the world that you owe a creditor, or creditors, a certain amount of money. The lien is attached to specific property (i.e. home, boat, equipment, receivables, etc.) and is typically filed in a state or county office.
The process may vary from state to state but you can probably get further information from your secretary of state or recorder’s office.
Creditors use liens in order to get paid in a timely fashion. Once the lien attaches, they’ve effectively secured collateral on that item and you must pay up before selling it, transferring it, mortgaging it, or doing anything else with it.
Talk to our legal group today about a lien, what you can do to get out of one, and what your lien legal options are.
How Does a Medical Lien Affect a Personal Injury Settlement?
If a hospital, medical provider, or health insurance company renders medical care or pays money for your medical treatment, then the health care provider, government agency, or other party may file a medical lien against you.
This will affect your personal injury lawsuit, worker’s compensation, or settlement so it is important to understand what it means.
A medical lien is a legal claim, normally filed by insurance companies and medical providers, stating that a third party should get paid back directly for treatment it gave you after an accident. Providers ask for this so they do not have to sue the injured or their personal injury attorneys. This right of action is called subrogation.
Here’s how it would work. The medical providers would place a lien soon after offering health care equal to or less than the amount of the medical bills.
After you got the settlement, award compensation, worker’s compensation, insurance policy, or other monies, the lien would require that a portion of that sum goes to them for their services before you receive anything.
If you want to know more about a liens or liens, contact our law firm now for legal advice from attorneys that care and can help negotiate with providers, another lawyer or attorney, hospital, the government, or anyone else making a claim against the injured after an accident. We may be able to negotiate a settlement to maximize the proceeds that go to the injured.
We can stand up to the big health insurance companies or hospital if they file a lien (or if they made you sign a lien after injury) for any medical bills or if they’re arguing that they should get paid from any jury award or settlement compensation money you received.
Can the At-Fault Party Be Sued?
Yes, the at-fault party may be liable for insufficient proceeds paid to the injured after an accident and subsequent settlement claim or award. A lawyer for the medical provider or providers, hospital, or even the government can sue the person who causes the incident.
On this theory, they can sue another party defendant if they did not pay enough for the injury treatment. They must prove they rendered the care and that they filed the lien or liens correctly as well as any other costs that accrued as a result of the lawsuit.
Main Kinds of Liens Filed against Accident Victims’ Proceeds
As you can imagine, a lien must or can come about many different ways after an injury. Several different medical or insurance parties can interact with you after the event and a lien may come about that way.
Normally, we see a few main kinds of lien being attached to settlement proceeds or verdict pay. Of course, yours might be different but these two pop up a lot in these contexts.
The first is a hospital lien. Most states allow hospitals the right of a lien for care given after injury and presentation in the emergency room. In some cases, they might need you to sign something and follow strict rules in order for it to attach to the settlement but that does not affect the legality and strength of them.
The second is government lien. Most government programs (VA; Medicare; Medicaid) allow public entities the right to attach a lien or liens and pursue money for care or money given especially following an injury settlement.
Contact a lawyer from our firm over the phone and tell us if someone is saying you need to pay them or that a lien must be paid back. Our attorney can negotiate with them and possibly get them to accept less than what they are owed
How to get a Lien Released
Many people want to know how they can get out of a lien so that they can move on with their lives and do something with the underlying property. The most important thing to understand is that it is flexible.
You have the right to negotiate with the lien holder. They may be willing to accept less than the amount originally owed in order to get something and move on from the ordeal. Then, the lien would be released and you would get full and clear title again.
What you first need to do is look closely at the document (law, insurance policy, etc.) that gives them the right to a lien. This may lay out the parameters for negotiation and release.
It can be helpful to do this with an experienced attorney. A lawyer skilled in the release of liens may be able to expedite the process and fight back on the demands of the large healthcare or other companies. Our law firm has done this before and can help you if you have been served a lien by anyone or any company.
Talk to an Attorney about a Lien Today
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents victims of accidents everyday. We can stand up and respond to any person or party asserting a lien or other claim against you.
Our attorneys are experienced and committed to protecting the rights of accident victims and their families. Contact us today for a no-obligation and free consult to review your legal rights and compensation options.
Our firm works on contingency so you don’t have to put a dime down to get outstanding representation.