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Understanding a Medical Lien in a Personal Injury Claim

Unbeknownst to many, state and federal agencies, hospitals, and even health insurance companies can assert a claim against a person’s personal injury financial recovery. Individuals that have suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of another have the legal right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in effort of recovering damages for the injury. A successful personal injury claim will help to cover the costs of any medical expenses or the loss of income an injured person has accrued, past and future. Some of that money may have to go to “lien holders” to pay them back for paying past medical expense.

In a majority of cases, people do not have the money to cover medical expenses after being seriously hurt in an accident. In these situations, the workers’ comp carriers, insurance carriers or government entities have helped the victim cover these medical costs can file a lien against any settlement proceeds. A lien is essentially a demand for a repayment that is placed against a person’s personal injury claim.

Filing their own claim or asserting a lien in an effort to recover any money spent on medical treatments is known as subrogation, whereby insurers will seek a repayment from the settlement. The extent of a lien claim can depend on the language that was used in the insurance policy, whether there is active participation in the case by the lien claimant, and reduction of liens to pay attorneys fees, and pro-rata costs in effecting a recovery of money.

Hospital and Medical Provider Liens

Certain medical care providers ask an injured person to sign a lien, which states that the injured person submit to repayment from the personal injury settlement or recovery to pay for their services. A medical care provider needs to follow requirements stated in hospital lien statutes.

If a hospital has not complied with the state’s current laws, the lien may not be enforceable in a court of law. However, this does not mean that the injured person is not responsible for the medical costs.

Liens may be negotiable and one should seek the expertise of a knowledgeable attorney

It is possible to have a lien holder to accept an amount less than what was provided. In most cases, a skilled attorney can help to get the claim reduced, waived, or voided.

The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are very experienced in lien litigation and negotiation when it comes to personal injury cases or workers’ compensation claims. Lien law is can be complex and an experienced litigator can help to reduce or even completely eradicate the lien. For medical care liens, seek the proficient support of an experienced attorney today.

Richard Irwin

Mr. Irwin is a recognized specialist in Workers’ Compensation law. He has been certified as a specialist by the State Bar of California since 1995. He limits his practice to handling only workers’ compensation cases. View Attorney Richard Irwin's Attorney Bio Here.

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