Negotiating Personal Injury Liens
Charlotte personal injury lawyers spend more time negotiating personal injury liens than perhaps doing any other work related to the claim. The reason for this is that every dollar negotiated on behalf of the client puts more money in the client’s pocket. And that’s the goal.
Working With A Personal Injury Lawyer
Some clients try to settle their claim without a personal injury lawyer. While this can go smoothly in the most basic of personal injury claims, it can also end in a nightmare. The common misconception is that if you are able to get the same settlement offer a personal injury attorney would procure, then you don’t need to work with a personal injury lawyer. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and negotiating personal injury liens is just the start of it.
If you are a Medicare recipient, Medicare will most definitely have a lien against your personal injury proceeds. There is a formula which your personal injury attorney will make sure Medicare applies when determining what your personal injury lien is. Your attorney can also petition Medicare for a further reduction by claiming hardship due to disability or other condition which makes it unfair for you to have to repay the amount Medicare is entitled to. This is a tedious process, but the results can make all the difference in your personal injury settlement.
Medicaid liens are similar to Medicare liens; however, a Medicaid lien is not limited to the same portion of your personal injury settlement that Medicare is limited to. As a result, it’s important to know what your Medicaid pro rata lien amount will be prior to agreeing to a settlement. This way, you know what you’re getting before you enter into a binding contract with the insurance company to settle the claim.
ERISA Health Insurance Liens
It comes as a surprise to personal injury clients that some healthcare plans are entitled to a reimbursement for amounts paid toward personal injury medical care. Most of us believe that the arrangement we have with our healthcare plans is that we pay the monthly premiums, and when we are hurt or need medical attention, the healthcare insurance company pays the bills—or most of the bills. There is an exception when it comes to treatment related to personal injury. This federally enforced contractual agreement is contained in your healthcare plan documents.
Your personal injury attorney will make a request of your healthcare insurance provider as to whether they have or claim an ERISA health insurance lien against settlement proceeds. If they do claim a lien, your attorney will make sure they are the type of health insurance plan that is entitled to claim such a lien. This requires determining, among other things, whether the plan is an ERISA plan and whether it is a self-funded plan.
Medical Provider Liens
Even medical providers—facilities and doctors—can claim a lien against your personal injury proceeds. They have to follow specific guidelines for doing so, but most providers are well-versed in the rules for establishing their lien against your personal injury settlement and you can count on them to follow the rules.
Negotiating Personal Injury Liens
The bottom line is that quite often the settlement offer being made from the at-fault party is not enough to either pay off all the claimed liens, or in the alternative, it’s not enough to pay you enough money after all lien holders have been paid. This is why negotiating your personal injury liens prior to reaching a settlement is key. This is when you have the most leverage. Once you agree to a settlement, the lien holders are entitled to their share of the personal injury settlement. Prior to settling, you have some leverage against them. For instance, you can propose a reduction to their lien, in exchange for agreeing to accept the personal injury settlement being offered by the insurance company.
In many cases, hospital providers and ERISA lien holders are willing to make practical concessions in order to insure they get paid something from the settlement proceeds. Quite often, they will acknowledge these payments as full and final payment of the amount owed on the account. While Medicare and Medicaid follow more strict guidelines for lien reductions, it’s important to ensure they are not claiming some part of your personal injury settlement to which they are not entitled.
If you want to get more questions answered, check out our Personal Injury Blog Articles.
Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you haven’t signed your release of all claims form yet, it’s not too late. You can still employ a personal injury attorney to protect you against the lien holders in your personal injury case. If you have questions about working with a personal injury lawyer, or if you have general questions about personal injury, call us today. You can call 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will contact you today. When it comes to choosing a personal injury law firm, we know you have options. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.