An unfortunate fact of many personal injury settlements is that the government may be able to take out a claim against your settlement. This claim, also known as a “lien,” requires you to repay the cost of your medical bills.
It isn’t just the government that can issue liens—your health insurance provider can do it, too. Insurance providers can begin the process of subrogation and require you to repay them from your settlement money. Keep reading to learn what to know about medical liens in personal injury cases.
When you think over your medical care, remember whether or not the government paid for any portion. If they did, they have a right to be repaid if you win a settlement. The rights that the government has to your money depend upon the agency that funded you, whether it was Medicare, Medicaid, or the Veteran’s Administration.
Medical Provider Liens
Medical providers and hospitals can also issue liens for repayment during your care, but there are strict requirements for a valid lien. For one thing, liens must be filed at the recorder’s office in the hospital’s county within 180 days of your release from the hospital. If the hospital fails to meet any of the requirements, the lien cannot be enforced.
Negotiating a Lien Release
When any agency or institution issues a lien on your settlement, you may not need to pay them the amount they gave you. An attorney is your best option for getting claims reduced—most will use the “fund doctrine” to do so.
When speaking with your attorney about your lien, you may also hear them talking about medical lien purchasing and servicing. These services can take the load off uninsured and underinsured people, so get more information from your attorney to learn whether you qualify.
Now that you understand what to know about medical liens in personal injury cases, talk with your attorney to determine the best course of action.