How Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help with Lienholders
If you were injured in an accident because of the negligence of another, you should know that lienholders can legally claim part of your settlement compensation. If you are dealing with lienholders on your claim compensation (or you aren’t sure if you are), you will benefit from the help of a personal injury attorney.
Types of lienholders in personal injury claims
There are many different types of lienholders that can lay claim to a portion of your injury settlement, including:
- Medicare and Medicaid (government)
- Doctors, hospital and other health care providers
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Health insurance company
- Veterans administration
- State child support agencies
- Car insurance company*
*A car insurance company is the most likely to place a lien on your compensation so they can recover the money they paid for your medical care (this is called subrogation).
Why is subrogation allowed?
The idea behind compensating insurance companies for the money they laid out for your medical bills is that the injured party should not be able to have medical care paid for and also receive payment for their medical bills from the at-fault party. This would result in essentially making a profit off of their injuries.
Am I obligated to pay my lienholders?
In short, yes; you must pay your lienholders out of your settlement. There is no good way to get out of it and doing something reckless like attempting to hide the money could even land you in criminal trouble.
The reason for this is that most insurance companies, and Medicare and Medicaid, have fine print in the contracts you signed that obligates you to follow their rules and notify them when you’ve been injured in an accident. Have you ever received a questionnaire from your health insurance agency after seeking medical care for an accident? This is because the codes used for your medical care are easily identifiable as related to an accident and they want to know if the accident was caused by a negligent party who could be held financially responsible.
How a personal injury attorney can help you keep more of your compensation
If you are feeling stressed about liens against your injury settlement, the best thing you can do is talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible about your claim. You will have a much better chance of getting a bigger share of your injury compensation if you have a complete list of all potential liens from the beginning of your claim process.
An injury lawyer can help by identifying all liens (or potential liens) against your settlement and attempting to negotiate them down. While not all liens can be reduced, medical expenses, in particular, are often negotiable. A great personal injury lawyer has experience negotiating large medical liens with Medicaid, Medicare and the VA so you can hold onto more of your money.
Seek the help of a personal injury attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!