Do Medical Liens Help or Hurt My Injury Settlement?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Aug 31, 2020 in Auto Accident

lawyer explaining documentIt depends. Getting medical care for injuries suffered in a car accident is a top priority, but how do you pay for it? What if your insurance plan is not enough to cover the mounting bills? Even though doctors and hospitals are required to provide treatment up front, they will expect payment for those services. After being injured in a car crash, your providers are within their rights to place a medical lien for those unpaid bills against any compensation you receive in a settlement.

Rizk Law discusses medical liens and how they may help or hurt the amount of money you receive from a settlement for a car crash claim.

Our firm has extensive experience handling car accident injury cases, and we fight to help our clients obtain maximum compensation for their injuries and other losses. Learn more about what other clients have said about our services. To find out what legal options you may have, call to schedule your free and confidential, no-obligation consultation.

Understanding Medical Liens

What is a medical lien in a personal injury case? What types of medical liens are there? How do I know if I have one?

What is a Medical Lien?

In short, a medical lien is a demand for repayment of medical services that were provided to you up front with no out-of-pocket costs to you.

Types of Medical Liens

There are several types of liens following an injury claim, including liens against any compensation you may be awarded in a settlement, such as liens from:

  • Medical providers who did not collect payment at the time of your treatment, but who expect repayment when your case settles
  • Your healthcare insurer, who may have initially paid for the costs but will expect subrogation when a settlement is finalized
  • A government agency (such as Medicare or Medicaid) must also be repaid for medical services provided at the time of your accident.

Once you are discharged from further medical care, your treating hospital or physician has 180 days to file the lien. The documentation must be filed in the county where your provider is located. Information must include your full legal name and address, the name and address of your medical provider and the dates of service.

If the hospital or healthcare provider does not provide this information within the 180 days, the lien may not be enforceable. However, this does not mean the requirement to pay for your medical costs goes away.

Talking to a Lawyer About Your Liens

Our Portland car accident lawyers can answer these and other questions you may have about medical liens in the free case evaluation we offer. There is no obligation to hire our services after this meeting, and it is completely confidential, so there is no risk to you.

Having an attorney negotiate your settlement can help to ensure that you receive maximum compensation to help cover your medical costs. However, since others paid for your medical costs at the time you were treated, paying the costs of those services directly to you is legally considered “double-dipping.” You already received the medical care without paying anything out of your own pocket.

How Do I Know if I Have a Medical Lien?

A healthcare provider who agrees to treat you without upfront payment will likely ask you to sign a lien letter stating that you agree to repay for the services you received from your personal injury settlement. Many health insurance plans have a clause included that requires you to pay them back for treatment received after a car crash.

Additionally, Oregon state law, ORS 87.581 states that a hospital, physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner who provided your medical care up front can pursue a lien against any compensation you are awarded.

What Happens When Your Case Settles?

Essentially, when your case settles and the agreement becomes binding, everyone who is owed money will be paid from your settlement. This generally includes any medical liens, attorney fees or other costs associated with your case.

The remaining funds are paid to you and include both economic and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of enjoyment and more.

Can an Attorney Help You Keep More of Your Settlement?

As you can see, injury claims that involve a medical lien can be confusing. At Rizk Law, we handle personal injury cases every day, and we are very familiar with the legal implications of a medical lien. We understand how to make sure your legal responsibilities are properly handled while protecting your interests and making sure providers are not paid more than is required.  Additionally, we may be able to negotiate down some larger liens with some of your medical providers.

Learn more about medical liens and get answers to other legal questions when you meet with one of our attorneys in a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We have been advocating for the injured in Oregon for more than 20 years and recovered millions in compensation on behalf of our clients. If we represent you, there are no costs to pay upfront or until your claim reaches a settlement or jury verdict. We do not get paid unless you do.