What Happens After The Settlement
After the settlement agreement is finalized and you have signed the release documents, a check will be issued and deposited into your lawyers trust account. Once the check clears, your attorney will pay off any outstanding legal fees and any other debts you may have related to your injuries.
It is critical to have an experienced lawyer on your side to review your settlement agreement and make sure the settlement agreement provides you the maximum compensation available for your damages.
What Are Texas Personal Injury Liens
IN SETTLEMENTS & VERDICTS
In Texas, when someone is seriously injured, hospitals are required to provide medical treatment, regardless of the individuals ability to pay. When emergency medical providers treat someone who is injured due to anothers negligence, they are allowed to file a personal injury lien for medical bills that the victim cannot pay.
Lets say Bob was injured when Sally T-boned his car as she ran a red light. Bob was rushed to the hospital and racked up thousands of dollars in emergency treatment expenses, but Bob has no insurance and no money to pay the mounting medical bills. Shortly after getting released from the hospital, Bob receives notice of a hospital lien in the mail. What does this mean for Bob?
Under Chapter 55 of the Texas Property Code, when someone receives emergency medical treatment following an accident that is attributed to the negligence of another person, the hospital and other emergency medical providers can file a lien in their county of service. In the event that the injury victim brings a lawsuit against the negligent party, this lien gives the hospital the right to get paid first from any settlement. If Bob sues Sally and is awarded a $20,000 settlement, the hospital gets to take what its owed before any remaining funds can be distributed to Bob.
Medicaid And Medicare Considerations
Federal law dictates that the government has a right to repayment and are legally entitled to liens over personal injury settlements for those who receive are on Medicare insurance plan. In many states like New York, state law further dictates the right of the state to claim a lien against a personal injury settlement for Medicaid beneficiaries.
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How To Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens
If youre afraid of losing your home to Medicaid liens, fear not. There are many ways in which we can protect your home and property from Medicaid liens. Below, we outline some of the strategies we employ at Reich & Binstock to protect the assets of our clients.
- Set up a life estate. This is a simple solution appropriate for people in all different situations. It is a form of joint ownership of the property between two or more people. Each person has an ownership interest in the property, but this interest lasts for different periods of time. One person who initially holds the life estate does so for the rest of their life. The other person still has an ownership interest, but does not take possession until the death of the first person.
- Set up a trust. Another way we protect the home is to transfer it to an irrevocable trust. Thankfully, trusts offer more flexibility than life estates. However, they are a bit more complicated. Once you put the home into the irrevocable trust, it cannot be taken out. While the house itself can be sold, the proceeds of selling the house must remain in the trust. This offers more protection for the value of the home. Furthermore, trusts have the potential to allow the settlor to exclude up to $250,000 in taxable gain.
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid Out
Medical liens in California are complicated and have the potential to delay your settlement payout. Until an agreement is reached and the lienholder is paid, your settlement cannot be disbursed.
In some cases, you may be required to create a Medicare Set-Aside along with repaying medical benefits from your settlement. As a general rule, you must create a Set-Aside if you are a current Medicare recipient and settle a claim for more than $25,000 or settle for over $250,000 and are expected to receive Medicare within 30 months. The purpose of the Set-Aside is creating a fund to pay for future medical expenses Medicare is expected to pay.
Before you receive your settlement funds, all medical liens must be cleared and the attorneys fees and costs must be paid. An important benefit of hiring a personal injury lawyer in California is they can attempt to negotiate your medical or hospital liens.
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What Is The Law In California
California allows patients and medical institutions to sign medical lien agreements.1 This makes California different from some other states, like New York, which prohibit these agreements.
Once the agreement is signed, California law requires the lienholder to perfect the lien by notifying the interested parties. If this notification is not sent, the lien is ineffective. The notice has to include:
- the name and address of the injured person,
- the date of the accident,
- the name and the location of the hospital,
- the amount being claimed as reasonable and necessary medical charges, and
- the name of anyone alleged to be liable to the victim.2
Once the lien is signed, it is a binding contract. California law does not limit how much of the settlement proceeds can be exhausted in satisfying the lien. This is different from subrogation, where the following California statutes and legal doctrines protect the settlement money:
How Liens Work In A Personal Injury Case
Suppose that an injured person has $100,000 in medical bills, and a defendant is willing to settle a case for $300,000. The insurance company may have a lien for $100,000 against that settlement. If the law firm is entitled to 33% of the proceeds of the settlement , then the injured client would receive $100,000 after accounting for both the attorneys fees and liens.
Our firm negotiates tenaciously with insurance companies and other statutory lien holders in seeking to get them to reduce the amount of their lien. Often, statutory lien holders will agree to reduce their lien by a cetain percentage.
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Other Common Liens Deducted From Settlements
Liens can also be asserted by government-based benefit providers such as:
Government liens can be the most time-consuming liens to resolve at settlement. It is very important to inform your attorney of any government-based health insurance used to cover the treatment of your injuries.
If a client does not have health insurance, a healthcare provider will often require a lien agreement prior to providing treatment to guarantee payment for their services. When this occurs, the healthcare provider will often assert a lien on a personal injury case to ensure reimbursement once the case is resolved.
Another common lien deducted from personal injury settlements is to a workers compensation insurance company. If a client is not able to work due to injuries related to a personal injury case, any benefits paid to the client under a workers compensation plan are subject to reimbursement from a personal injury settlement.
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.
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Suffered A Slip And Fall Injury
Been in a slip and fall injury? Find the best legal representation in Toronto and Ontario.
- Slip and fall injuries primarily occur due to poorly maintained properties
- Serious injuries like a brain injury or a spinal cord injury can occur from a slip and fall incident
- A slip and fall injury can be various serious for people who are more vulnerable like the elderly or disabled people
- A severe slip and fall injury can prevent you from discharging your duties at the workplace and cause loss of earnings
- Quality medical care and rehabilitation for a severe injury can be very expensive and time-consuming
- Hiring an expert lawyer to fight your case and get you the best compensation so that all your expenses are taken care of is the best step you can take at such a stage
Worker’scompensation Liens For Work Related Accidents
If you are injured in a work-relatedaccident, a worker’s compensation lien may be issued if your medical bills orlost wages have been paid through your state’s workers’ comp fund. Thislien amount is typically whatever worker’s compensation has paid for yourcase. Worker’s compensation laws vary significantly between states therefore it’s important to check if the carrier can assert a workers comp lienon your personal injury settlement.
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California Medical Lien Statute Of Limitations
If you sign a hospital lien agreement, there is a statute of limitations of four years which begins if you break your promise to pay.
If you do not win your injury case or the settlement doesnt provide enough money to pay the lien, the lienholder can only pursue you for the debt until the statute of limitations expires.
Note that most agreements have language that specifies that any settlement money recovered is held in trust for the hospital or provider. In these cases, the statute of limitations does not apply. This means you cant recover compensation, fail to pay the hospital lien, and wait four years for the statute of limitations to expire the hospital is still able to pursue you for the balance.
What Is A Lien And How Does It Impact My Settlement
Liens are commonly the most confusing and frustrating aspect of a personal injury or product liability settlement. If a third party such as a health insurance company paid for medical treatment related to a clients injury, the health insurance contract or the law typically allows a lien on the personal injury settlement.
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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 states 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.
How Much Do Lawyers Charge For Car Accident Claims
If you were hurt in a car accident caused by someone else, having an experienced lawyer can help your chances of being awarded the fullest compensation possible for your claim. Scheduling a free consultation with an attorney, like our team at John Foy & Associates, can give you a good idea of how a lawyer works and what their fee structure will look like.
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How To Handle A Settlement Lien
If you find out that someone has placed a lien against your personal injury settlement, learn as much as you can about the lien. Keep and review all documentation you receive from the third party about the lien, including the lien notice. Learn the laws in your state regarding personal injury settlement liens to confirm if the private or public lienholder has the legal right to claim part of your settlement.
Keep in mind that a federal lien will take precedence over any other liens against your settlement. This means you will have to pay the federal lien before paying the others. Finally, contact an attorney to safeguard your settlement and fully understand how one or more liens may affect your claim.
What Is A Medical Lien Or Hospital Lien
A medical lien, sometimes referred to as a hospital lien, is an agreement between a patient and his or her healthcare provider. The legally binding contract is known as a lien agreement. Liens are most frequently used when the patient has no other way to pay for the care they need after being hurt in an accident.
In the lien agreement, the healthcare organization agrees to provide the patient the care that he or she needs. In return, the injured party agrees to give the medical care provider a lien on the proceeds of his or her personal injury case.
When that case ends, the medical provider or hospital can then exercise the lien and recover the costs of the medical care that they provided to the defendant in the case.
Basically, when a hospital or provider accepts a medical lien, it is providing healthcare on credit.
Once the lien agreement has been signed, the provider will perfect the lien by notifying the interested parties about the agreement. By perfecting the lien, the healthcare provider guarantees that they will be paid from the personal injury verdict or settlement, first. They come even before the victim, who would be the cases plaintiff. Payment of medical liens can also create delays in the disbursement of the settlement proceeds.
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Flat Fees And Retainers
Although its rare, some personal injury lawyers may follow a different structure than the contingency fee. The alternatives are usually:
- Collecting a retainer or
- Working on a flat fee
If the lawyer requires a retainer, they may ask for a certain amount of money upfront and then collect a contingency fee at the end. If they win you money, the amount you already paid should be deducted from the percentage they take out of your settlement or award.
Another alternative fee structure is the flat fee. This is common with other types of lawyers, but not personal injury attorneys. Flat fees involve one set payment for the lawyers services. Some lawyers may offer payment plans, but there is still one set fee required.
Cases with very low complexity may be the only situations where a personal injury lawyer works on a flat fee, but again, its rare.
What Is The Average Personal Injury Settlement
Personal injuries can vary depending on the type of case and amount of damages that the plaintiff suffered. There are many different types of personal injury cases and the settlement for each of these cases depends on many different factors. The main factor that the parties look at when coming to a settlement agreement is the damages that the plaintiff suffered. There damages can be medical expenses, property damage, physical and emotional damages, and/or lost wages.
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How Long Do I Have To File A Personal Injury Claim
Do you know how long you have to file a personal injury claim? Or when the best time is to file one? Is it better to do it immediately after your accident or to wait until you know how significantly your injuries have affected your life?These are just the beginning of the string of questions t
What Is A Settlement Lien
In general, a lien is a court order placed on one party’s personal propertyto satisfy debt owed to a third person or entity. In the context of asettlement, the personal property is the settlement award, or at least theportion that the lien holder is asserting a right to. The third party seekingto place a lien on a settlement must file a lawsuit through the court system.In the personal injury context, liens can be filed by any entity that paid any ofthe injured party’s bills.
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Is A Lien Necessarily A Bad Thing
A lien can help you get what you need after youre hurt. In the case of a medical provider, it can encourage the provider to offer you treatment. They can administer this treatment knowing that theyre likely to get paid after you resolve your case. In the event of an attorneys lien, this can allow an attorney to help you even if you dont have the money to pay out of pocket.
How Much Can The Lien Take From A Personal Injury Settlement
Because a medical lien is a legally binding contract between the patient and the healthcare provider, the healthcare provider is entitled to the full amount of the lien. If the personal injury settlement is not enough to pay off the lien, then the lienholder can pursue the patient for the remainder.
This is in stark contrast to insured victims. They have their medical bills covered by their insurer. The insurer can then pursue its right to subrogation against the defendant in the case in order to recoup the amount it paid to the victim. Many states limit how much the insurer can take in subrogation. Those limitations do not exist for hospital liens.
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