Dealing With Liens In Your Injury Case
When your case ends, and you have agreed to a settlement or you have won a verdict at trial, you probably know that any medical bills that you have that are due and owing, may have to be paid from your settlement. But what you may not have known is that any other third party that paid expenses for you—like health insurance or Medicare—will also likely want a piece of the money that you have won.
Why Pay Back Insurance?
Many people find the idea of paying back health insurance at the end of the case to be distasteful, at best. After all, you paid good money for your health insurance coverage, or worked hard at your job for it, and that’s health insurance’s job. What right do they have to want money from your personal injury case?
But the reason why they will want money, and in many cases, why they are entitled to money, is because of double recovery.
Think of it this way: Let’s say your health insurance, or Medicare, paid $10,000 towards your medical expenses for injuries that were related to your accident. Later, a jury looks at your case, finds the defendant liable, and the jury awards you $100,000 in total compensation, which includes $10,000 for those same medical expenses.
Now, you have actually gotten paid for your medical expenses twice: Once when health insurance paid the bill, and a second time when the jury gave you money for those very same expenses.
So, health insurance (or Medicare) wants to be paid back, and they will assert a lien on your case, to ensure that they get paid back.
Handling Insurance Liens
Health insurance liens aren’t always bad or expensive though. Remember that your health insurance only has a right to get paid back if you do, in fact, receive a settlement or a verdict from your case.
Additionally, many times your personal injury attorney can negotiate with your health insurance company or Medicare or any other entity who is asking for reimbursement, in order to lower the amount that you have to pay them back: they often do not receive a dollar for dollar reimbursement from you. This is especially true when the settlement or verdict is less than what you expected, or less than what you needed to cover all of your anticipated expenses.
Preparing in Advance
If you are trying to settle your case, or going into a mediation, where a settlement may happen, it is important that your attorney know in advance what your liens may be, so that you have a general idea of what you will receive, and what will have to be paid back, before you agree to settle your case for a given dollar figure.
Call the Clinton personal injury lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today for help with every stage of your personal injury case.