If you win a settlement in a personal injury case, you might notice that someone has a lien against your settlement. This is not a reason to panic though, and it is actually quite common. A Long Island personal injury lawyer from our firm can explain these liens to you, and they might even be able to help you negotiate them and keep more of your settlement.
What is a Lien?
A lien is a debt or an amount of money that you must pay out of your personal injury settlement. This can occur because someone provided a service for you after your accident and the law allows them to get paid back after you win in court. You may have also signed someone that allowed another entity to take some money out of your settlement. That is why it is important to pay attention to what you sign and what you agree to. A lawyer can help you break down such contracts and know more about what you are consenting to.
Who Can Put a Lien on My Personal Injury Settlement?
There are a few different entities that can legally put a lien on your personal injury settlement. The two most common are providers of healthcare and providers of benefits.
Healthcare providers: A doctor or hospital may put a lien against you if they offered you medical care after your accident. Because of your pending lawsuit, it is likely that they were not paid before. Once a settlement is reached, these healthcare providers can get the money that they are owed. They may even make you sign a contract that tells you all about their plans to file a lien later.
Benefits providers: Private health insurance companies and government benefit programs, like Medicare, can both place a lien on a settlement. If one of these benefits providers helps you pay your medical expenses, they can be reimbursed later through this method.
Why Would a Hospital File a Lien Instead of Charging Me?
It seems strange to some of our clients though. Why would the hospital wait to collect from a settlement when it could just charge you? Sometimes a lien gives them the opportunity to charge the full price for services, instead of the discounted rate they would charge your insurer. Doctors can also listen to your lawyer about your case and choose to wait to collect their payment.
Can Liens Be Negotiated?
In some cases, liens can be negotiated. Sometimes the entity placing a loan just wants to get at least some of their money back. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate their original number down, allowing you to keep more of your settlement.
Call and Schedule a Consultation
Are you planning to pursue a personal injury case of your own? You do not have to go it alone. Instead, contact Zlotolow & Associates, P.C and set up an appointment with our team. Our initial consultation is free, but the information you gain could be invaluable!