After you’ve won a personal injury settlement following a serious accident, it can feel like you’ve reached the end of a long journey. However, if you’ve never been involved in a personal injury lawsuit, then you might be caught by surprise when a lien is placed against your injury settlement.
If you received any medical care after your accident that was not covered by your insurance policy or out of your own finances, the institution that provided or paid for your medical care can place a lien against your settlement, sometimes for the entire amount of your settlement. Learn more about medical liens after a personal injury case and find out why you should be sure to consult an attorney about protecting your settlement.
The most common types of medical liens are placed by medical institutions like hospitals or doctor’s offices that provided treatment after your accident. Typically, if you are planning a personal injury lawsuit, medical institutions will agree to treat you so long as you submit to a lien on your settlement by signing a lien agreement. When you receive your settlement, the medical institution will call in your lien agreement to receive payment for the treatment they provided.
However, if you have health insurance, the medical institution is required to seek payment through your insurance policy instead of placing a lien against your injury settlement.
Medical treatment for injuries that occur on the job are generally covered by your state’s workers’ compensation program. If workers’ comp insurance paid for your medical bills following your accident, they are legally eligible to recoup some of these payments by placing a lien against your settlement.
Worker’s comp liens should never exceed the amount they paid for your treatment, although you should check the specific workers’ comp rules in your state to make sure you understand how much of your settlement they are entitled to.
Government insurance programs like Veteran’s Administration, Medicaid and Medicare are also allowed to file liens against personal injury settlements. However, the rules can differ from program to program. Where some programs may be allowed to recover their full payment from your personal injury settlement, others are only allowed to receive a portion of their payment amount.
If you’re unsure of the rules for the program you were enrolled in, you should consider consulting an attorney.
Depending on the extent of the medical care you received after your accident, the lien placed against your settlement may be more than your entire settlement amount. In these circumstances, you may be able to negotiate your lien so that the payment amount is reduced or released. Lien negotiations are often very complicated, so it’s best to make sure you have legal counsel before you enter negotiations with the lien holder.
If a lien has been placed against your settlement after a successful personal injury case, you need to get advice from the legal team at the Disparti Law Group. We can examine the facts of your settlement and tell you if there’s any way to negotiate your lien to preserve some or all of your settlement.
Request an appointment with one of your attorneys today.