The process of securing compensation for injuries caused by others can be daunting. On top of recovering from your injuries, you also have to deal with insurance companies, courts, and hospitals requesting payments. You may have heard of medical liens and are wondering how they might affect your personal injury lawsuit. Here are some of the top questions and answers.
What Is a Medical Lien?
A medical lien is a way for healthcare providers to claim their right to receive compensation for services rendered. There are two main types of medical liens:
- Contractual medical liens: This is an agreement between you, your attorney, and your medical provider that guarantees that the medical provider will be paid first when you obtain a settlement. In other words, you agree to use the money you recover from your personal injury lawsuit to repay all medical expenses incurred until that point.
- Statutory medical liens: These are claims created by statute rather than by contract. In other words, this is a situation in which you do not voluntarily enter into a lien agreement with a healthcare professional. These types of liens are generally used to pursue repayment for delinquent bills.
How Do Medical Liens Work in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Both contractual and statutory liens seek compensation from the settlement award. If you entered into a contractual medical lien, then you will be able to continue receiving treatment while you await your settlement without having to pay out of pocket.
Once the settlement award is determined and ready to be disbursed, any entities with an outstanding lien will be paid first. For example, if you received a $100,000 settlement from a car accident lawsuit and have a hospital lien for $30,000 in treatment, then the hospital will get paid first and you will receive $70,000 of your settlement.
Who Can File a Medical Lien?
According to Louisiana law, a medical lien can be filed by any healthcare professional who provided treatment for you. This includes doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. Additionally, your health insurance may file a medical lien to receive reimbursement for any expenses incurred during your treatment.
What Happens to the Medical Lien if I Lose My Case?
It depends. You will generally still be responsible for any contractual and statutory liens even if you lose your case. However, many of the liens related to personal injury cases are known as “contingent liens,” which means that they only need to be repaid if you win your case.
For example, if your health insurance paid $10,000 of your hospital bill after your truck or motorcycle accident, then it may place a contingent lien on your personal injury lawsuit. This allows the insurance company to be reimbursed for the payment if you do obtain a settlement. If you do not win your case, then you will not be responsible for this lien.
Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help With My Medical Lien?
Dealing with medical liens in a personal injury case can get very complicated very quickly. The experienced attorneys at Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers will help you negotiate the best possible deals and seek the largest settlement so you can keep more of the money you’re entitled to. Call us today at (318) 221-1508 or email us for a free consultation.