Personal injury victims have a right to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. If the injury victim wins their personal injury case and receives a settlement award, the agencies that initially paid for their care and treatment may have a right to recover their medical expenses from your settlement. Government agencies, hospitals and medical providers and workers’ comp agencies may all be entitled to placing a lien on your settlement to recover the money they paid out for your medical expenses.
Government Medical Liens
If you paid for your medical treatment with a government agency like Medicaid, Medicare or the Veteran’s Administration and received compensation from a lawsuit, the government has a right to place a lien against your settlement. This means that when you are awarded compensation or a settlement amount, the government has a right to recover the funds they spent to cover your medical expenses.
Hospital and Medical Provider Liens
Certain states allow hospitals and medical providers to recover funds they spent caring for and treating an accident injury victim. Hospital and medical provider liens like these must follow strict protocol in order for them to be valid. Before you receive treatment, your medical provider may even require you to sign a lien letter agreeing to the lien against your settlement.
Should you win your personal injury case and receive compensation, the hospital or medical provider has the right to recover their funds. Should your hospital or provider not comply with your state’s statutes, though, their lien is not enforceable. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not required to pay your hospital bills, only that the medical provider does not have a lien against your settlement.
Workers’ Comp Liens
When you’re injured in a work-related accident, you are usually entitled to receiving workers’ compensation to pay for your medical expenses. If you used your workers’ comp to pay for your bills and later received money in a lawsuit settlement, your state’s workers’ comp agency may have the right to file a lien against your settlement to recover the amount that they paid out for your medical bills.
Talk to a Lawyer About Your Personal Injury Case
It is possible for you to negotiate the terms of the lien with the lien holder. Depending on the circumstances, the lien holder may be willing to accept a much lower amount than they initially wanted. For example, many workers’ comp liens are much larger than the amount the injury victim would receive if they won their personal injury case. In this case, the victim may simply decide not to pursue the lawsuit, or hire a personal injury lawyer to help negotiate with the workers’ comp agency to accept a lesser amount.
Contact Lewis & Keller
Anytime someone files a lien against your personal injury case settlement, it’s wise to go ahead and talk to an experienced attorney. Lien laws are complex, and your attorney can help you understand whether the lien is valid, if you can negotiate the amount of the lien and what course of action is in your best interests. Lewis & Keller has two offices in North Carolina, one in Greensboro and one in Winston-Salem. Contact us today to discuss your personal injury case.