When you suffer an injury, your priority is receiving the medical treatment you need right away. This is especially true for serious injuries that require medical treatment. It could be possible to receive this emergency medical care without the need to pay for it out of pocket.
If you were hurt due to the negligence of another party, you could be entitled to compensation. Major medical providers will often provide the care you need and agree to accept payment after your injury case has settled. This is possible through something known as a medical lien.
Understanding Medical Liens
A medical lien is more than a bill or a demand for payment. These liens serve as formal notice to all parties that a medical provider has a claim on any compensation the injured party recovers.
A medical lien does not interfere with an injury victim’s right to pursue legal action following an accident. It does notify the at-fault party that instead of settling the claim directly with the plaintiff, they must also ensure the medical provider is reimbursed as well.
Resolving personal injury lawsuits can take time. In some cases, it could be years before an agreement is reached and a settlement is paid. While the personal injury case plays out, the medical providers must wait to be paid. For that reason, some providers will only agree to medical liens when it comes to emergency medical care.
Who Can Place a Medical Lien?
There are numerous parties that could place a medical lien on the proceeds of a personal injury lawsuit. Any party that provides or pays for medical care could rely on a medical lien to be reimbursed, including:
- Health insurance carriers
- Auto insurance carriers
- Workers’ compensation insurance carriers
- Veterans Administration
- Medicare or Medicaid
Insurance companies could place a lien on your settlement even if they were primarily responsible for covering your medical expenses. For example, a lien could be placed on your settlement even if your only obligation is a deductible. Issues regarding medical liens can be complex, so it is important to seek out legal counsel right away.
How Could a Lien Impact Me?
Medical liens cannot be ignored, as they have a significant impact on your ability to resolve your personal injury case. For starters, a lien means that you will not be able to keep the full amount of your settlement. In order to complete your settlement, you will need to agree to reimburse all of the lienholders in your case.
In some cases, the lien amount could be so substantial that it could take up most of your settlement amount. If the total amount of your settlement is only slightly more than the full amount of your medical lien, your take-home compensation could be disappointing.
It is especially important to take into account other out-of-pocket expenses that are not related to your medical care. If there are other liens or expenses, you could find that your overall settlement is less than the total cost of your injuries.
An attorney could ensure that you consider the impact of your medical lien when resolving a personal injury lawsuit. It is vital that you take your lien into account when negotiating your personal injury case. An attorney from our firm could help with that.
How to Resolve a Medical Lien
The good news for injury victims is that there are ways to favorably resolve a medical lien. In many cases, it could be possible to negotiate with the medical provider to resolve the lien for less than face value.
Many medical providers are willing to settle for less than their lien is worth. Often, these companies value recovering a portion of what they are owed right away instead of waiting years for the case to resolve.
Not every medical provider will be interested in negotiating. Others might initially reject negotiating their lien only to agree over time. Relying on the guidance of an attorney with experience resolving these liens could be valuable. Our firm could work with the medical provider to show them that every party benefits from resolving the case in short order.
Talk to Your Injury Attorney About Medical Liens
Medical liens complicate personal injury lawsuits. They can limit what you actually take home through your settlement, which can make it difficult to resolve your case. These liens can be the one challenge that prevents you from reaching a fair outcome in your personal injury case.
The attorneys at Brown & Barron could help you negotiate your medical liens and ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries. In fact, our team could assist you with every aspect of your case. If you are unclear on what a medical lien is or have questions about your personal injury case, schedule a free consultation right away.