Does A Personal Injury Settlement Include Medical Bills?
Your personal injury settlement will include payment of your medical bills. Medical bills are often a challenging aspect of a personal injury settlement in North Carolina. The reason for this is that there are no rules automatically reducing medical billing in a personal injury settlement. As a result, your personal injury attorney must be familiar with the medical lien laws of North Carolina when settling your claim. Lastly, your Charlotte personal injury attorney may negotiate your medical bills for you as part of your personal injury settlement.
What Are North Carolina Medical Liens In Personal Injury?
If you are injured and receive treatment in North Carolina, the treating physician or facility can place a lien against any personal injury settlement you receive. The underlying theory is that if you were treated for the injury and receive money for the injury, you should have to pay your medical bills related to that injury.
There are some limitations on personal injury medical liens in North Carolina. Per N.C.G.S. 44-49 and 44-50, any provider of medical services is limited in the amount of lien they can claim, as follows:
Under Section 44-49, a lien is created provided that the provider does not charge for medical records and medical billing, and provided that written notice of the lien is given to the attorney.
Under Section 44-50, the liens in total are limited to one half of settlement, after subtracting attorney fees and costs. Generally, because attorney fees are usually one third of settlement, this means that the amount of your settlement that has to go to the lien holders is one third of your settlement.
For example, assume your settlement is $12,000. Your attorney fee would be $4,000 (1/3). This leaves $8,000 remaining. The lien statute states that no more than one half of the remainder shall be made to pay to liens. This means $4,000 must go to your lien holders, and the remaining $4,000 is yours.
What If Medical Bills Exceed The Lien Amount?
Your medical provider does not have to accept the pro-rata lien payment under 44-49 / 44-50 as final settlement of the lien. They may bill you for the remainder. However, your Charlotte personal injury lawyer may be able to negotiate the medical bills in total for you, prior to accepting settlement. In many cases, the lien holder will accept their pro-rata share as full and final settlement.
Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today
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