Personal Injury Claims and Liens: Do YOU Know Who You have to Pay Back?
If you have personal injury claims after being injured in an accident, there are many companies that allege that they have a “lien” or “right of subrogation” against your injury settlement. Sadly, many people claiming to have such a lien do not actually have the right to recover anything from your settlement.
Arizona has some very strong laws against private health insurance companies recovering money from an injured person’s personal injury claim. It is essential that you confer with an experienced personal injury attorney regarding who has lien rights and who does not, as well as whether the liens being claimed are valid or not.
What is a lien?
A lien is another party’s financial interest in a personal injury or wrongful death recovery.
Section 33-931 of the Arizona Statutes sets forth a medical provider’s right to a lien. It states that medical providers are “entitled to a lien for the care and treatment or transportation of an injured person.”
In other words, if you have been injured in an accident and file a lawsuit to recoup your damages, such as your medical bills, the party who paid for those medical expenses may have the right to file a lien against the proceeds of your settlement. Thus, a lien is an interested party’s demand for repayment that is placed against the settlement or award in your personal injury lawsuit.
Who has a lien in personal injury claims?
There are a number of persons and entities who are legally-entitled to claim liens. Generally federal health care providers (for example Medicare, Medicaid and Federal Employee Health Benefits Act insurers) are entitled to liens. State and local governmental entities and workers’ compensation insurance carriers also have liens, as do certain hospitals and health care providers.
It is common for a medical provider to ask you to sign an agreement granting them a lien against any settlement you receive to pay for their services. If you have questions about this agreement, is important to contact our office before you sign it.
Our attorneys can ensure that the medical provider is following the strict protocol for a lien and whether their lien is valid. Finally, large companies who self-fund their health insurance plan under a federal law called ERISA are entitled to reimbursement.
What do I do if someone is claiming to have a lien?
It’s a good idea to talk to a personal injury lawyer. Many liens are not valid, or need to be perfected in certain ways to become valid. Section 33-932 of the Arizona Statutes sets forth the steps a medical provider must take to perfect their lien.
Other lienholders are required to provide reductions in their liens for various legal and equitable reasons, including the expenditure of attorneys’ fees and costs. An attorney can often save you substantial funds on your liens. A lawyer experienced in handling medical liens can often negotiate a reduction in the lien amount with medical providers.
Phoenix Attorneys Ready to Help with Personal Injury Claims
Contact us online or by calling 602.530.8400 if you are concerned about whether a lien is valid in your case or would like a free consultation on personal injury claims or a wrongful death case. Once you hire an accident attorney, you will have the peace of mind to relax and focus on you while your lawyer handles the rest of your claim.
The legal team at Gallagher & Kennedy has successfully represented injured victims after passenger vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, commercial truck, pedestrian and Uber/Lyft accidents. Whether you suffered life-changing injuries or a loved one lost his or her life in a recent vehicle collision, contact our Arizona law firm for a free case review near you.
Our experienced Phoenix car accident attorneys may be able to help your family obtain injury compensation.