Personal injury victims are often shocked when they discover that something called a “medical lien,” must be paid to health care providers before they can receive their settlement. A medical lien is a legal claim against your personal injury settlement that is filed by a doctor, hospital, your health insurance company, or some other entity that provided you with medical care or services in response to your injuries from the accident. Essentially, it is a demand for reimbursement.
How is a Medical Lien Used?
Some states allow medical liens to be filed in the following situations:
- Medical Provider or Hospital Lien: if you do not have health insurance and are unable to pay up front for the medical treatment rendered, a hospital, doctor or other provider may agree to defer payments until you settle your case. They may even ask or require you to sign off on a lien, stating that repayment for their services will come from their personal injury settlement or award.
- Healthcare Lien: if you use your own health insurance to cover medical bills after an accident, rather than waiting for the at fault party to pay. Your health insurer may then attempt to recover those costs by filing a medical lien.
- Government Lien: when a government agency, such as Medicare or Medicaid, is used to cover the costs of your medical care related to an accident, they also have the right to file a medical lien for reimbursement.
- Workers’ Compensation Lien: if you are injured while at work, and your workers’ compensation benefits are paying for your medical bills, but a third party is at fault. If you successfully sue the third party, the workers’ comp insurance company has the right to collect their money back.
There are specific requirements and state laws that must be followed in order for a medical lien to be valid, which means in some instances a medical lien may not be enforceable in a court of law.
How Can an Attorney Help with Medical Liens?
It is entirely possible for a lienholder to accept less than the amount of money they are seeking reimbursement for. In most cases, a skilled attorney can help you get a medical lien reduced, waived, or voided altogether. If a medical lien turns out to be enforceable, an attorney can help you negotiate in an attempt to lower the amount of money you owe.
Negotiating before your case settles will likely increase your net recovery and can save you money in the long run. Certain lienholders have more of an incentive to accept a lower pay out prior to your case’s resolution. Given that there is a chance your personal injury claim may be unsuccessful.
However, medical liens can be extremely technical, which is why an experienced personal injury lawyer is recommended for their advice and to help guide you through the negotiation process.
Consult with a Knowledgeable Houston Personal Injury Lawyer
When it comes to personal injury cases, the attorneys at Milano Legal Group have extensive experience in medical lien litigation and negotiation. Discuss your situation with us today in a free consultation, by calling (713) 489-4270 or filling out our contact form online.