How Are Liens Handled In A Personal Injury Claim?

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As we all know, medical treatment is very expensive.  The bills stack up quickly, and this financial burden often forces injured victims to seek legal recourse.  We understand the stress and uncertainty that comes with endless medical bills.  These bills need to be paid, and most providers will relentlessly pursue payment.  Our number one priority is to take care of our clients.  This means we will make sure our clients receive the medical treatment they need.

One of the most important reasons to hire an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney is to help you get medical bills paid.  When you are injured by a third party’s negligence and receive medical treatment your medical providers may seek reimbursement for the treatment once you recover compensation.  This is commonly referred to as a lien.  

A lien is a legal claim that someone has on the property or rights of another person until a debt has been paid.  For example, Abby injures her back in an auto accident.  Abby is treated by a chiropractor, Bob, for 3 months.  Bob charges Abby $3,000 for the treatment.  Abby files a lawsuit against Charlie and settles the case with his insurance carrier for $9,000.  In this case, Bob the Chiropractor would have a $3,000 lien against the $9,000 settlement.  

There are many different types of liens.  In the context of personal injury law, the most common lien holders are health care providers (doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc), Medicare/Medicaid, ERISA (employer-based health insurance providers), and/or Worker’s Compensation.  In the case of healthcare providers, they will provide you treatment and then assert a lien against a future recovery (i.e. settlement or jury verdict).  Although public versus private health insurers handle liens differently, these insurers will also pay your medical treatment and then seek reimbursement against any future recovery. 

Once we begin handling your case, we will work with you to identify any existing lienholders.  If an entity is asserting a lien, we will request documentation to determine whether the liens are valid. Once we have identified valid lienholders, we will work with them throughout the litigation and eventually negotiate the lien amounts.

It is very important to work with an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney to identify and negotiate any  liens prior to resolving a case.  Please contact our attorneys today if you have bills mounting and need legal assistance. 

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