If you were involved in a car accident or work-related accident, the most important thing to do is to seek treatment for your injuries. We understand that the moments and days following an accident can be hectic and foggy, especially if you’ve been injured. But once the dust settles and you’ve received the necessary treatment, you might be interested in pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
If you were not at fault for the accident, you likely have a personal injury case on your hands. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you deal with the steps that follow the decision to file a claim. In these scenarios, medical liens are very common. If you’re not sure what this entails, read on to learn the basics of a medical lien, how it can affect your settlement and why you should consult with a personal injury lawyer.
What is a Medical Lien?
A medical lien is a legally binding agreement between a healthcare provider and patient, which gives the healthcare provider the ability to recoup any money owed for treatment. The healthcare provider does this by placing a request on the patient’s personal injury claim.
When you’re the victim of an accident and receive compensation in a personal injury case, the entity that originally covered your medical bills can file a medical lien to be repaid for their coverage of your treatment.
Workers’ Comp Liens
If the accident happened at work, New Jersey’s workers’ compensation fund may have covered your medical bills. In this case, the state program can issue a workers’ comp lien to recover the costs paid towards your case. New Jersey has specific laws regarding this type of lien, so be sure to consult an attorney to see if a workers’ comp lien can be applied to your settlement.
Government Agency Liens
Government agencies such as Medicaid and Medicare may have the right to be repaid for coverage of your injuries. If you recover money for your medical bills, a lien may be placed against your settlement, deducting medical costs covered from some, or all, of your settlement.
Once again, there are different rights among federal and state government agencies. A lawyer can determine if these programs reserve the right to be repaid from your personal injury case proceeds.
Hospital and Medical Provider Liens
Hospital and medical provider liens are also very common in personal injury cases. A hospital may file a lien in order to cover the costs put towards your treatment and recovery. However, they must follow specific rules for the lien to remain enforceable.
For example, the lien must have your legal name, current address, the name and address of the hospital where you were treated and the dates of service. It also must be filed within 180 days of your release from the facility. If these requirements aren’t met, the hospital cannot file a lien against your settlement.
Additionally, medical providers are allowed to ask you to sign a lien letter. This letter will state that you agree to a lien against your personal injury settlement so the provider can be repaid.
Seek Help from a Personal Injury Lawyer
In some cases, you may be able to negotiate the terms of a lien. It’s also possible to have certain liens released. The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Peter Davis can help you with medical liens following your personal injury case. Feel free to contact us for a consultation regarding your situation.