After you’ve won a personal injury lawsuit and received your deserved settlement, you’ll be excited to finally move on from your injury and focus on your recovery. However, there is still one issue that you need to be aware of: liens. A lien is a method for medical providers, insurance companies, and even government agencies to request money from your settlement for any payments that were made for you after your injury.
Since many people are unaware of liens and how they work, it’s important to learn more about them. Here is some information about liens, tips for protecting your settlement and advice for hiring a lawyer for your personal injury case.
Liens Relating to Hospitals and Other Medical Providers
Depending on the state in which you live, hospitals and medical providers may file a lien against your settlement. Many medical providers may actually request that you sign a lien letter that gives consent for them to file a lien in exchange for medical treatment after accidents. However, hospitals must follow a very specific protocol for their lien to be enforceable.
For example, the hospital must file their lien within 180 days after treatment was provided. In addition, the lien must contain your correct personal information and full details about the services provided. If a hospital does not follow lien rules, they will not be able to take payment from your settlement. You will, however, still be required to pay your medical bills in some way. Also, the hospital is required to get payment from your insurance if available instead of filing a lien.
Liens After Work Accidents
Liens don’t necessarily have to be against a personal injury settlement. If for example, your accident happened on the job and you’ve received workers’ compensation, a lien can be filed against your workers’ comp. Generally, the lien amount will only cover the medical expenses that workers’ compensation is required to cover.
Since workers’ compensation rules can vary from state to state, you should consult a personal injury attorney about the specific rules in your state.
It is also possible for the government to place a lien against your settlement if you used a government insurance program to pay for any part of your medical treatment. Anyone who uses Medicaid, Medicare or Veteran’s Administration benefits to pay for medical care after an accident and then receives compensation for that accident through an injury lawsuit may be subject to a line.
The different programs have different rules for placing a lien against a settlement, so you should be sure to closely examine the lien regulations of the program you used.
Negotiating Lines for a Release
When faced with a lien after a personal injury case, many people choose to hire an attorney to help them negotiate the lien amount. Through negotiation, it’s possible to get the person who holds the liens to accept a lower amount. This is especially true in cases where the requested lien amount is more than your personal injury settlement.
You should always face an attorney when a lien has been filed against your settlement so that you can keep as much of your compensation as possible.
Get Help After Your Personal Injury Case
If a lien has been placed against your settlement after a personal injury case, you need to contact one of the experienced legal professionals at Harris & Graves, Personal Injury Attorneys. We can help you negotiate with the lien holder so that the process is as easy as possible.