If you’ve been injured in an accident and are filing a lawsuit against the responsible party, certain entities that paid for your medical expenses may be entitled to filing a lien against your personal injury case. This lien is a demand for compensation, should you win your case and receive a settlement amount from the at-fault party. Entities that are commonly entitled to placing liens include government agencies, workers’ comp agencies, hospitals and medical providers.
If the government paid for any of the medical expenses relating to your personal injury case, they have a right to place a lien against the settlement you expect to receive from another party. So if a government entity like Medicaid, Medicare or the Veteran’s Administration paid for your medical bills prior to your settlement, they can file a lien for reimbursement and even recover some of the proceeds from your lawsuit.
Workers’ Comp Liens
If your accident was work-related and your state’s workers’ comp agency paid for any of your damages, they also have the right to file a lien for reimbursement if you are awarded compensation from your personal injury case. The amount that your state’s workers’ comp agency can recover is normally only the amount that they paid for your case.
Hospital and Medical Provider Liens
Certain states also allow the hospital that treated your injuries to file a lien against your personal injury settlement if they paid for any of your services. In order to do so, your hospital must comply with the requirements of the Hospital lien statutes. If they fail to do so, their lien against your settlement is not enforceable. Keep in mind that this only means that they do not have a right to receive any of your settlement, not that you are not responsible for paying your medical bills.
When you are seeking treatment for your injury, your medical provider may require you to sign a lien letter. By signing this letter, you are agreeing that your medical provider has a right to recover money from your settlement amount to reimburse them for the services they pay for. Like hospital liens, medical provider liens must comply with strict statutes in order to be successful.
Can You Negotiate a Lien Against Your Personal Injury Case?
It is possible to negotiate the lien with your lien holder to get them to accept a smaller reimbursement amount that what they paid out, particularly with the help of a personal injury attorney. Your attorney can negotiate with the lien holder such as the medical provider or the workers’ comp agency to reduce the amount of their lien against your personal injury case.
Often, workers’ comp liens are even larger than the amount you may receive from winning your case. In this event, your attorney can best advise you on how to proceed with your case. You may opt not to file a lawsuit if the settlement amount is too small, or your attorney may be able to significantly lower the amount of the lien.
If a party has filed a medical lien against your personal injury case, contact a personal injury attorney at McMahan Law Firm to understand where you should go from here. We’ve been serving injury victims in the Chattanooga, TN area since 1995, and we’re here to help you fight for the compensation and treatment you deserve.