What Is A Medical Lien?

After being in an accident where you’re injured, you will file a claim with your insurance company or the faulty party’s insurance company to pay for the medical costs incurred by the accident, as well as any property damage and other compensation. However, there are times when a third party may make a claim for part of your settlement, which is referred to as as lien. Generally speaking, a lien is considered a demand for payment from the settlement amount you receive after an accident. For example, if you owe money to an individual, company, or organization, this party may file a lien against your settlement.

When it comes to a medical lien, this party is usually the one who provided you with medical services. The fact is that you are obligated to repay the lien. Otherwise, the party filing the claim will take you to court to receive the money owed. However, in the event that you require emergency medical care after a hospital or other medical practice places a lien on your settlement, it is important that you speak with an experienced attorney who will help you through this time.

Which Parties Can Place a Lien on Your Settlement?

There are a couple of different parties that can place a lien on your settlement. This includes your insurance company who may seek repayment on your medical care costs. However, the amount of the lien will depend upon the accident’s circumstances and the extent of medical treatment you received. Oftentimes, even when the accident is not your fault, your insurance company will step up and pay for your medical costs with the expectation that you will file and win a claim against the party at fault. The reason your insurance company may pay upfront costs is because they can put a lien on your settlement, guaranteeing they will get their money back. If you need medical treatment right after an accident has occurred this is usually the process that will come about.

The other entity that can place a lien on your settlement is the medical provider or providers who treated your injuries. Sometimes, however, your insurance company may put off paying your medical bills as you wait for you settlement to hit your bank account. Either way, it’s important to receive medical treatment for your injuries right away rather than waiting for a settlement award. The treatment you do receive will cost money and if your insurance company won’t take care of the bill right away, the medical practice will place a lien on your settlement for all outstanding medical bills.

How Common are Medical Liens?

In reality, medical liens are quite common. This is because hospitals and other medical facilities find it easier to treat you right away and then place a lien on your settlement rather than waiting for the settlement to hit before treating you. Medical professionals understand that delaying care after a car accident can lead to increased medical bills by letting your injuries go untreated. For this reason, you can expect to receive medical care right after your accident.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Negotiate a Lien?

In some cases, an experienced lawyer will be able to reduce the amount of the lien.  A good lawyer will negotiate with your medical providers to lessen the amount of the lien. Sometimes, although rarely, the lien you owe can be more than what you received in your settlement.  If this happens, your attorney will negotiate a smaller pay off amount. This is not something you can or should do on your own. Instead, use a lawyer who is experienced in handling these kinds of personal injury cases.