What are Hospital Liens in a Personal Injury Case?

A doctor holding a chart

If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence in a traffic accident, slip and fall accident, or any other kind of accident, you probably have a personal injury claim to file with the negligent party’s insurance company. While this claim processes, however, your medical expenses associated with the accident will likely continue to mount. This is where a hospital or medical lien can help. These liens essentially allow you to receive medical care on credit by giving the healthcare provider the right to recoup its losses from your personal injury settlement or award.  If you have concerns related to your personal injury claim and/or a medical lien, contact an experienced Redding, California, personal injury attorney today.

Medical Providers and Medical Liens

Some – but not all – medical providers grant medical liens to patients with pending personal injury cases for which any of the following circumstances apply:

  • Patients who don’t have health insurance coverage (or adequate health insurance) for the medical treatment they need
  • Patients who can’t afford to pay their deductibles (and other out-of-pocket expenses) for the medical treatment they need
  • Patients who are otherwise incapable of paying for the medical treatment they need during the pendency of their personal injury claims

Because not every personal injury case ends successfully for the party who files it, some medical professionals and medical facilities are unwilling to accept the risk and work on the basis of a medical lien.

Your Health Insurance

If possible, it’s preferable to pay your medical bills related to your injury claim through your health insurance. If you don’t have health insurance, however, that obviously isn’t a possibility. Further, if your medical expenses are extensive, the deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses can be financially out of reach for you personally. One of the major advantages of having and employing your health insurance is that you cannot be charged more than the provider’s contract with the insurance company allows (these typically involve a reduced rate). With insurance, in other words, the overall amount you’d owe for the full scope of your medical needs is almost certain to be less than the amount you’d owe with a medical lien.   

Working Closely with a Reputable Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Medical professionals can be hesitant to use liens because of the financial risk involved – if the patient doesn’t prevail with his or her personal injury case, he or she likely won’t have the resources necessary to cover the medical costs. If, on the other hand, you work closely with a reputable personal injury attorney during the lien process, the medical provider in question is far more likely to approve it. Your experienced personal injury attorney’s confidence in your personal injury case can go a long way toward bolstering your medical provider’s confidence in your medical lien.

Medical liens generally grant the medical provider with specific rights, such as:

  • Once you’ve been awarded a settlement of judgment, the provider has the right to be the first paid.
  • The provider has the right to collect any amount that exceeds your settlement or court award directly from you.
  • The provider has the right to settle any disputes that may arise regarding payment via arbitration rather than in court (with a jury).

Lien agreements are typically drafted to favor the medical provider involved, and sometimes, the discrepancy is significant. Having your personal injury attorney negotiate your terms – or draft your lien – can help ensure that your rights are well protected throughout.

How Medical Liens Work

If you need a medical lien and have found a medical provider who agrees to treat you on this basis, the medical professional will provide you with a lien agreement to sign. This agreement is a legally binding contract that should be taken very seriously, and it is in your best interest to have an experienced personal injury attorney ensure that it adequately protects your rights before you sign. Once you’ve signed the lien, the medical facility will give notice to the insurance company involved. This notification signals that the insurance company should make the appropriate payments directly from the forthcoming settlement or court award to the lienholder – bypassing the injured party.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Redding Personal Injury Attorney

If you need a medical lien after being injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Maire & Deedon in Redding, California, are committed to fighting for your claim’s most beneficial resolution and to ensuring that your lien protects your rights. Our dedicated legal team is on your side, so please contact or call us at 530-246-6050 today.