What are Liens and How Will They Affect My Settlement?
First of all, what is a lien? A lien is a hold placed on money that has been or will be awarded at the end of a settlement or judgment. The money that is held aside is to pay a third party for a debt owed.
A settlement lien is placed on your personal property by the court to pay a third party for a debt that is owed (typically for medical expenses). The third party can file a lien that has made payments on your health care bills specifically for your injury.
Liens are asserted by hospitals, health insurance, auto insurance, Veterans Benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, Workers’ Compensation, hospitals, doctors and others.
They can file a claim in court against the settlement to ensure that they receive payment out of your settlement or judgment.
You will have no option but to make the payment on the lien out of your settlement or judgment award.The lien is essentially a deduction from how much you will receive from the settlement.
Commonly, liens against a personal injury case arise when you are injured and do not have the money to pay for necessary treatment. You should get all the health care treatment you need, despite your financial situation. However, your burden is to make sure you pay for the care you received, either out of pocket or through a lien placed on your case.
Liens against the settlement
A lienholder is trying to get paid from your injury settlement first. The government will always be paid back before you. The government has six years to seek a lien on your settlement.
The same time frame holds true for private insurance companies and Workers’ Compensation insurance plans. Individual state’s laws administer the length of time a lien is legal.
Your lawyer can negotiate how much will be paid. An experienced attorney can reduce the amount of the lien. But there are excellent strategies for reducing or eliminating liens.
Understanding liens and how they relate to your personal injury is complicated. The hardest part is negotiating the medical liens so everyone gets a fair share of the settlement. It is critical that you hire a personal injury attorney from beginning. It will possibly save you money and time. It will also save you from unnecessary stress. Medical bills can pile up faster than anyone would expect.
Minimize the impact of the lien on your settlement
You will need very experienced legal representation to ensure that your entire settlement is not absorbed by liens placed on your case. Settling too early or for less than you are eligible can easily impact your entire settlement, leaving you with nothing. You may even owe money after the settlement is completed. To ensure you are able to pocket as much money as possible, you need a knowledgeable attorney who knows about reimbursement and lien issues.
Be patient. The lien settlement can get very complicated very quickly. It is best to work with your attorney to help you understand your options and legal rights.
Protect your settlement
Be sure to settle all of the liens and review all documentation before you spend any of the settlement proceeds. If you received a lien notice you will are required to pay some of it back. If you do not pay it back you may be sued or submitted to collection agencies. It is important to get an attorney who will fight for you until the very end.
Lien negotiations can increase your injury settlement, maximizing the amount you will receive. You need a personal injury attorney who understands about the reimbursement process. A good negotiator can help you receive the most money possible and could save you thousands of dollars.
The laws governing settlements
Liens against personal injury settlements are common. The attorney will be certain that any personal or public lien holders do not have a right to a claim of an allocation of the settlement.
Each state has its own laws governing how a lien can be perfected or legitimized by a lien holder. The federal government also takes precedence over all other liens on the settlement you will receive. Medicare and Medicaid are first on the list to receive funds from your settlement. These laws are constantly changing and you need a lawyer who is up to date on the current law.
The fines and penalties for not following the law can be very severe. The injured individual could lose all his or her settlement money simply by not following the law. The attorney will make sure all the liens presented are valid. This is the reason hiring an injury attorney is most helpful to your case.
In order to safeguard your settlement and be sure all liens are settled legally, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Without the assistance of a personal injury attorney, you may not have any funds left at the end of your settlement. You want to walk away with the compensation you deserve.