medical bills stethoscope and calculatorAfter your devastating car accident or fall on someone else’s property, you needed immediate medical care. The hospital you went to treated you without question, and perhaps your health insurance kicked in to cover the cost. However, the accident was not your fault, and you pursued a successful personal injury claim against the negligent driver or property owner and were awarded compensation.

You might think that all of that money is yours to make up for the struggle you have endured, but it is actually intended to cover your medical costs and other financial losses. The hospital and your health insurer will have to be paid back out of that settlement, and they will issue a legal claim to make sure they are reimbursed. That claim is called a lien.

How a Medical Lien Works

A medical lien is a legal claim placed on a person's settlement or judgment in a personal injury case to ensure that health care providers receive payment for the medical services they provide. It is a contractual agreement between the patient, their attorney, and the health care provider, typically used when an injured individual lacks the means to pay their medical bills upfront.

Here's how a medical lien works.

Injury and Medical Treatment

When someone is injured due to another party's negligence (e.g., in a car accident or slip-and-fall), they may require medical treatment. This treatment can include hospital stays, surgeries, diagnostic tests, specialists, physical therapy, and more.

Lack of Payment

In many cases, individuals may not have the financial means to cover these medical expenses out of pocket, especially when the injuries are severe or long-term. Instead, they rely on their personal injury attorney to pursue a legal claim against the at-fault party to seek compensation.

Agreement With Health Care Providers

To ensure that the medical providers are paid for their services, the injured party and their attorney enter into an agreement with the health care providers. This agreement stipulates that the medical providers will wait for payment until the personal injury case is resolved.

Legal Settlement or Judgment

If the personal injury case is successful and results in a settlement or judgment in favor of the injured party, the medical lien ensures that the health care providers are among the first to be paid from the settlement amount.

Payment From Settlement

When the settlement or judgment is received, the attorney disburses the funds. Typically, the medical providers are paid before any other parties, including the injured party and their attorney. The funds are used to cover the outstanding medical bills as specified in the lien agreement.

Remaining Settlement Funds

After the medical providers have been paid, any remaining funds from the settlement are distributed to the injured party, with a portion often going to the attorney as their fee.

Medical liens help ensure that individuals who have suffered injuries and require medical treatment can access the necessary care, even if they cannot afford to pay upfront. They also provide a mechanism for health care providers to secure payment for their services, rather than having to rely solely on the patient's ability to pay.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help With Medical Liens

Typically, you will need a personal injury lawyer to get the hospital or health care provider to agree to provide treatment without payment by assuring them that payment will come later. The skilled negotiators at Keller & Keller help clients maximize the amount they receive from a settlement or judgment by getting health care providers to agree to a reasonable payment. This agreement can be beneficial for both the injured party and the health care provider.

There is no guarantee that we will be able to negotiate for a lower medical lien, but we always try. The outcome will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, the willingness of the health care provider to negotiate, and the strength of our legal arguments. However, a successful negotiation can significantly benefit the injured party by increasing the amount they ultimately receive from their personal injury settlement or judgment while still ensuring that health care providers receive fair compensation for their services.

You Deserve Full Compensation After Your Accident—We Can Help!

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an accident in Indiana, New Mexico, or Michigan, there is a Keller & Keller office near you to help. Our lawyers and investigators will get to work right away determining the full value of your claim and fighting to recover all of the damages you are owed. Call us from any state at 1-800-253-5537 or fill out our contact form to connect with a Keller & Keller law office near you.

James R. Keller
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