What Is a Lien in a Personal Injury Case?

James Law Office, LLC

If you win a settlement in a personal injury case and are informed that there is a lien against it, that might alarm you. We understand that feeling, but liens are really not all that uncommon in personal injury suits. Essentially, an entity or person has decided that you owe it money and that they will be taking it from your settlement. Your Darlington, South Carolina personal injury lawyer can help you if this comes up.

Who Can Put a Lien on My Personal Injury Settlement?

Most of the time, the liens put on a personal injury case settlement are “medical liens.” That means that they have something to do with the care that you got when you were originally injured in your accident. You can have a lien placed on your settlement by:

  • A doctor
  • A hospital
  • A benefits provider, like a health insurer
  • A government benefits provider, like Medicare and Medicaid

Basically, if someone performed a service or paid for a service after you were injured, they may be able to place a valid lien on your settlement money. In some cases, a doctor or hospital would not charge for their services at all, instead waiting for their patient to win in court. In other cases, a plaintiff’s health insurance provider pays for a large amount of medical care and gets repaid when the court case is won.

Why Would a Hospital File a Lien?

A hospital could decide to file a lien because that could enable them to charge more for medical services. When they charge a patient’s health insurance company, there is usually a negotiation and the cost of a service declines. When they decide to place a medical lien on a settlement, they are hoping that they would receive more money through this method than they would when charging you and your health insurance company.

Can Liens Be Negotiated?

That does not mean that the lien on your personal injury settlement cannot be negotiated though. Your lawyer can look at the facts of your case and the kind of medical care provided to determine whether or not a lien is fair. Sometimes they can make a counter-offer and settle for a smaller amount.

For example, a hospital says it performed $30,000 worth of care on you after your accident. Your lawyer offers $15,000. The hospital takes it because it would rather have less money now than continue to push for more money through litigation.

What If I Disagree With a Lien?

There are also some cases where a lien looks completely wrong. If you think that someone should not have a right to a piece of your settlement, your lawyer can help you contest the lien.

Call and Schedule a Consultation

If you have any questions about personal injury cases or you plan to file one of your own, contact the James Law Firm. We can guide you through every step of the process, from the start of the legal process to the division of the final settlement.

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