A lien in a case involving personal injury is a subrogation claim. In a personal injury case, a subrogation claim or lien is a third party’s legal right to your settlement proceeds or jury verdict because they are owed money. Claims for subrogation may be filed by health care providers and certain insurers.
Who May Be Entitled to a Lien on Settlement Money for a Personal Injury Claim?
In cases involving personal injury and wrongful death, 5-335 of the New York General Obligations Code restricts subrogation claims and reimbursement to specific parties. The majority of health insurers are not entitled to reimbursement for medical expenses paid in connection with a personal injury case.
However, the law does not apply to providers of federally funded health insurance under Medicaid or Medicare. Also excluded are insurance companies involved in no-fault settlements, self-funded ERISA health plans, and workers’ compensation insurance. Consequently, these parties can file a lien against the compensation you receive for your personal injury claim.
According to Section 189 of the New York Code LIE, hospitals have a lien on the proceeds of personal injury cases for unpaid medical bills related to the treatment of the injury or medical condition. In addition, the restrictions on subrogation claims do not generally apply to medical providers.
Suppose that your physicians and other medical providers agreed to provide treatment in exchange for payment of services from the proceeds of your settlement or verdict. In such a case, the medical providers may assert a lien against the funds you receive. Subrogation liens must be satisfied prior to receiving settlement or award proceeds.
Negotiating a Settlement for Subrogation Liens in a Personal Injury Case
In cases involving personal injury, your attorney is required to verify liens and pay them. Initially, your attorney investigates each lien to confirm that the party has a legitimate, legal lien on the settlement proceeds. If not, your attorney may contest the lien in court. Some liens may not be enforceable.
Some parties with liens on the proceeds from a personal injury claim may negotiate a lesser amount to satisfy the lien. Your attorney should attempt to negotiate these liens to save you more money. Medicaid lien regulations are unique. Depending on the settlement and damages, Medicaid providers may only be entitled to a proportion of their lien.
However, the law does not require other parties to negotiate a lien against your settlement proceeds. In such cases, it is advantageous to have a skilled and aggressive NYC personal injury attorney on your side.
Your attorney can review each bill the provider submits for reimbursement to confirm that the services rendered are relevant to the injury case. In addition, your attorney knows how to present a convincing argument for why the provider should settle the subrogation claim for a lesser amount. Self-negotiation could result in receiving less compensation for your claim.
Can I Ignore a Lien in My Personal Injury Case?
A lien is a statutory right. Therefore, it is not recommended to disregard a lien. If a medical provider or other party has a valid lien, they are able to pursue it in court.
The party may file a lawsuit against you and your attorney to collect the lien amount. In addition, the party may seek compensation for any damages caused by your failure to pay a valid lien. Consequently, you may lose more money than if you had negotiated a settlement of the subrogation lien at the time you received your settlement proceeds.
What Should I Do During My Personal Injury Case Regarding Liens?
Before signing any documents pertaining to subrogation or medical liens, consult with your personal injury attorney. In order to continue receiving medical care, you may have no choice but to sign the agreement or lien. However, your attorney should first review the contract to ensure that it is legal and fair.
Also useful is keeping track of all medical expenses and payments. Maintain records of each medical bill and the payer. The majority of insurance companies provide monthly statements detailing medical provider payments. This paperwork can assist your attorney in preparing to negotiate a subrogation lien.
Notify your attorney if you are receiving Medicaid, Medicare, or workers’ compensation due to an injury. These parties can be difficult to negotiate with, so it is beneficial to prepare for the settlement in advance. Keeping track of these payments also helps you determine how much you may need to pay to satisfy liens as you negotiate a settlement for personal injury.
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Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.