A medical lien may occur when a doctor, hospital, or other medical services provider gives medical treatment to a person due to an injury, and is not paid for those services. Other types include medicare and medicaid liens. This situation arises most often in the context of an accident that results in a personal injury claim. As a result, the medical services provider will file a medical lien on any insurance settlement or award that the injured person may receive as a result of a personal injury case, for the value of the services that were rendered to the injured person. Medical Liens in Auto Accident Lawsuits also often arise for uncovered medical expenses.
When an accident occurs that leads to a personal injury claim, it is common for medical services providers to immediately place medical liens on any potential award or settlement that the injured person may be awarded through the personal injury case. Essentially, the medical liens remain in the background of the personal injury case until the claim is resolved. Once the parties have agreed to settle the personal injury claim, or a court makes a determination as to the amount of compensation that the injured person should received, if any, the medical lienholders will become entitled to their share of the proceeds. Depending on state law, the medical lienholder is not likely to receive full compensation for the value of the medical lien. Rather, state law will determine the amount and extent to which medical lienholders are able to recover payment for their services.
If a medical services provider has treated a person for injuries that stem from an accident, the provider and/or the injured person's insurance company will usually request information from the injured person about the circumstances that led to the injuries, in order to be aware of any potential personal injury claims. Once it is established that a person's injuries may lead to a claim, the medical services provider will give written notice to the person and/or his or her personal injury attorney of any liens or claims that it is asserting pursuant to state law.
A medical lien is not released until the underlying personal injury claim is resolved. Once a settlement or verdict has been reached, and the amount of compensation to which the injured person is entitled is determined, medical services providers are able to receive payment for their services according to their liens. Depending on the state's laws involved, the medical services provider will receive at least compensation for the value of the medical services that it provided to the injured person.
If you are involved in a personal injury claim and medical liens have been placed on your potential damages award, or if you are a medical services provider who needs assistance in filing a medical lien, you should contact an experienced attorney. Only an attorney can fully explain the issues involved with medical liens, and the options that are available to you.