How Do Medical Liens Get Paid in a Personal Injury Settlement?
Life is full of uncontrollable circumstances. There is an inherent risk in your day-to-day activities no matter where you are. You could be commuting to work, walking through a park, eating at your favorite restaurant, or even relaxing at a social event. No matter the context, situations can arise quickly that will result in someone getting physically hurt and needing medical treatment.
When an injury occurs because of the negligence of another party, that is when you can see a personal injury case move forward. Personal injuries can happen in any number of ways, including car accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, dog bites, burns, and more.
Personal Injuries and Medical Care
A personal injury can affect people in far more ways than just the physical hurt itself. In some of these scenarios, a person may need to pay for medical expenses during their recovery. Maybe the accident injury was bad enough that they had to go to a hospital for emergency medical services or therapy.
But what happens if they are unable to pay for those medical services to treat their injury? In this scenario, a medical lien agreement might come into play.
What is a Medical Lien?
Medical liens are a type of legally binding contract between a patient and a healthcare provider. This lien agreement, which is sometimes referred to as a hospital lien, makes it possible for the patient to receive medical treatment for their injury at the moment, even if they are unable to pay for the services themselves or through their insurance company.
However, there is an important qualifier for this type of contract. The patient must agree to pay for the services out of any settlement proceeds from their personal injury case against the at-fault party. On the provider’s side, the entity is agreeing to treat the patient as they recover from their injury and will have full rights to payment from the compensation from the claim.
What Affects a Medical Lien Agreement?
When you are the injured person after an auto accident, nursing home incident, dog bite, construction accident, or other scenario and you require medical care, several factors will play a role in whether or not you can file a lien and how that agreement will play out.
Are You Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
Medical liens are only possible if the injured person is pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. The agreement guarantees that the medical care provider will recover money owed for services rendered to the patient from the settlement money. If no personal injury case is brought forward, then no lien agreement will be drafted and the victim will have to find another way to pay for medical care.
Your Health Insurance Company
Depending on the nature of the incident, your health insurance provider may cover a portion or all of the cost of care that is required to treat your injury. When this is the case, you have had your medical bills paid and there may be no need for any medical liens with the care provider.
However, another legal procedure that is similar to a medical lien is known as subrogation. If your health insurance has paid for the cost of your injuries, they can exercise this process to recoup the payments they made from your settlement after a successful personal injury claim. Just like a medical lien, health insurance companies can exercise this right before you receive your portion of the personal injury settlement money. See your medical insurance policy to find out what it says about subrogation.
The Cost of Care
How much your treatment cost will also affect medical liens or hospital liens. Sometimes, medical billing analysts will get involved to determine if the amount of the lien matches the cost of care. Additionally, the medical bills that result must be counted as a reasonable amount of care for the injury.
For example, if injury victims receive far more care than they needed for their injury at a hospital, then this could affect how much the lien holder will receive from the settlement.
Is a Government Entity Involved?
Government agencies can also be lien holders if your treatment was paid for by government agencies such as Medicare, Medicaid, or the Veteran’s Administration. These government liens must also be paid out of the amount of the settlement after any personal injury cases.
Other entities that may pay for your care could also employ similar processes, such as workers comp.
Did You Win Your Personal Injury Case?
Payment of the medical lien, hospital lien, or government lien is affected by whether or not you win your injury lawsuit. If you lose and receive no settlement, then you are responsible for paying the hospital bills or other medical expenses for your care.
In this scenario, you may have to work out a payment plan or even renegotiate the terms of the lien letter itself. When this is the case, you will need legal guidance and a professional on your side who can work with the medical provider to bring down the costs of the lien, though attorney’s fees will also lower your settlement amount if you win.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case
When you have high medical expenses after an injury caused by another, then you need a personal injury attorney who can help you win your case to earn compensation. This becomes even more important if you have signed any medical liens or other types of liens because you need a fair personal injury settlement to pay back the medical providers for their care services.
At Mitch Grissim & Associates, we can help you win your injury claim to ensure that your obligations can be covered. The last thing you want is to lose this case and be responsible for ongoing medical bills because of unpaid medical provider liens. An experienced personal injury attorney from our law firm can help victims earn a fair personal injury settlement.
We Protect Your Legal Right to Compensation
When someone else’s negligence led to your injury, we want to help you get the compensation you deserve. Our personal injury attorneys do just that by upholding the attorney-client relationship, protecting your interests under the law, assessing damages, and negotiating with the insurance company of the responsible party.
Call For a Free Consultation
To receive legal advice about your personal injury case, call 615-255-9999 for your free consultation. A personal injury lawyer will discuss the merits of your claim with you and how to proceed forward.