What is a Lien in a Personal Injury Claim?
A lien is a third party’s right over a part or all of your settlement proceeds from a lawsuit. Liens are designed to ensure that insurance companies or government agencies receive reimbursement after paying for an individual’s healthcare needs or other expenses after an injury. Individuals are responsible for paying back this “debt.”
Medicaid Lien Personal Injury Settlement
For example, your health insurance provider may cover $5,000 worth of medical treatment in the immediate aftermath of your accident. If you go on to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party, and you are awarded $5,000 for your medical treatment, you typically must give that money to your health insurance provider. It doesn’t become $5,000 of profit.
Lienholders can potentially file a court claim against an individuals’ personal injury recovery to make sure they will receive their due. State laws also deal with the rights of lienholders. Florida Statutes § 409.910, for example, allows Medicaid to seek reimbursement for any medical assistance paid by the institution.
Lienholders in Personal Injury Claims
Knowing and managing the lienholders in your personal injury claim can be critical for your settlement. Depending on your claim, various potential lienholders could have a claim to your final settlement, including but not limited to:
- Your healthcare providers
- Your private health insurance or Medicaid and Medicare
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Your car insurance company
- Child support agencies
While you are generally obliged to pay back the lienholders in your case, a personal injury lawyer can assist you with the subrogation process. Your attorney can work on keeping any payouts as low as possible so that you can retain as much as possible of your personal injury settlement.
Do I have to reimburse my lienholders?
Insurance companies, and other stakeholders, generally have the right to place liens on your settlement. If your health insurance company paid for your medical treatments, and you then receive a settlement that covers your medical costs, they can and will ask for a reimbursement. This process is also called “subrogation.”
Ignoring liens should be avoided at all costs as it can lead to criminal charges, fees, and penalties. Health insurance companies, in particular, typically investigate individuals if they suspect that something is amiss.
Paying Your Lienholders
If you have not heard from your medical providers or car/health insurance, do not assume they have forgotten about their claim on your settlement. They can appear years later and demand payment. Paying your lienholders ensures that you do not have a medical debt hanging over your head that could rear its ugly head years later and cause financial problems for you and your family.
Here is why having a personal lawyer by your side can help: liens are not necessarily set in stone and may be negotiable. The expert attorney from our firm knows how to negotiate liens with insurance companies, workers’ compensation, and other entities, and may be able to reduce the amount you owe.
While your best course of action can be to face your liens head-on, having legal assistance with handling your lienholders may be advantageous.
A Lawyer can Potentially Minimize the Impact of Liens on your Settlement
Unfortunately, lienholders can reduce your final settlement considerably. Therefore, make sure you do not count on your settlement for a major purchase or, even worse, spend all of the money before having settled your liens.
A personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale from our firm can analyze your claim fully and identify all potential liens against your recovery. While some liens are set in stone, others, in particular medical liens, can potentially be reduced.
We can work on negotiating your medical liens with the relevant lienholders to try and minimize the amount owed. We will explain this process to you so that you are not confused about your financial obligations after receiving compensation.
Contact Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato now
Do not wait to deal with your lienholders or ignore your liens. The fines for withholding payments to your lienholders can be steep.
A Fort Myers personal injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato can help you handle your lienholders, ensure that the liens placed on your settlement are valid, and negotiate strongly in your best interests.
Florida personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato are dedicated to understanding our client’s unique circumstances and providing caring, attentive legal services. We can leave no stone unturned in protecting your rights. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney can honestly and openly discuss your case and liens and help determine your next best steps.
Call us today at (954) 633-8270 for a free, no-obligation review of your case.