Insurance Liens Against Personal Injury Settlements

On top of all the issues that can arise within a personal injury claim, to include those surrounding the whole settlement process, victims are often stunned to discover that there are several different lien holders that are entitled to get a portion of their settlement.

Depending on the type of medical care and medical insurance coverage, there can be numerous medical liens on any settlement, recovery or verdict. The simplest liens to address are private medical insurance and workers‘ compensation insurance liens.   The more difficult and time-consuming liens to address are government provided healthcare including Medicare, Medicaid, VA and Indian Health. 

With both private, workers‘ compensation and government provided medical care, medical expenses related to the accident have to be assessed. This is normally a straightforward, yet time-consuming process. All medical records and bills related to the accident must be collected.  Keep in mind that there may be some difficulty with deciphering what bills and records are accident-related and those that are associated with other treatments or prior medical conditions. 

This problem of properly classifying the liens often arises with Medicare, Medicaid and VA liens where the patient has a significant medical history and the medical provider simply throws it all in a pot for the patient to sort out.  This is where the services of an experienced Albuquerque personal injury attorney may prove useful and/or essential when identifying, negotiating and settling medical liens.

No matter what the source of the lien, the liens sill need to be negotiated. The  liens can be negotiated down on a wide array of grounds. Still, getting to that point can be a long and wearisome process for both the client and the attorney.  The record collections process alone can take months.  But this is the first and sometimes, seemingly the simplest task.  Once collected, the next challenge is identifying and making contact with the proper authority for classifying and negotiating the liens.  This may sound like a simple task but it can be challenging even for a experienced personal injury lawyer.  

Nevertheless, as complicated, difficult and time-consuming as the lien settlement process may be, it is absolutely necessary with both private and governmental liens.  Failure to address the liens can at best result in significant outstanding medical debt.  In the case of Medicare, there are also very stiff penalties for failure to take care of the liens prior to settlement. 

 In all but the simplest personal injury actions with few injuries and few associated medical liens, it is highly advisable to seek the services of an experienced personal injury attorney.  Though it may sound appealing to go it alone, failure to address all these issues could be far more costly than the legal fees you may save. 

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