Liens For Medical Expenses When Your Personal Injury Case Is Over
Normally when you use health insurance to pay for injury, illness or disease, whatever insurance pays, you don’t have to pay back. That’s the point of insurance—they pay the bill or part of it, instead of you.
That’s why a lot of personal injury victims are surprised to learn, when their case is over, that there are some sources of insurance that do want to be paid back—and if you or your personal injury attorneys aren’t aware of it, these liens by these insurance companies can end up costing you a lot of money.
Why Is There a Lien At All?
When you are injured in an accident, sources that pay your medical bills related to the accident expect to be paid back some or all of what they paid towards your medical expenses.
This is because they don’t want you getting a double recovery. If health insurance paid $500 to doctor A, and then later, the negligent party pays $500 to compensate you for that same medical expense, you have now been paid twice for that single $500 bill. Health insurance (or other sources) want to be paid back for what they expended for your care.
This is only in the personal injury arena—when you just use health insurance to pay for a normal, routine medical procedure or exam, they don’t want to be paid back because you aren’t getting paid from any other source, the way that you are in a personal injury lawsuit.
Who Asserts Liens?
Both private health insurers, and government insurance like Medicare or Medicaid, will expect to be paid back from the proceeds of your settlement. Workers’ compensation will want to be paid back also, in the event they pay for your medical expenses, and you recover a settlement or verdict from a third party. In the event a hospital paid for your treatment because you were uninsured, they may want to be paid back.
When you use these sources to pay for your bills, your personal injury attorney should speak to them, to see what they paid, and what they expect to be paid back, so that you have an idea of how much money you will get if you do opt to settle your case.
Sometimes, these sources can be negotiated with. This is especially true if for some reason you accepted a smaller than expected settlement. Still, the negotiations can take awhile, and before you accept a settlement offer, you should know what each source expects to be paid.
Should you lose your case, or for some reason, fail to recover any money for your injuries, you will not have to pay any of these entities back. Repayment is only when you recover money from the responsible, negligent party.
Call the Tennessee personal injury attorneys at Fox Willis Burnette, PLLC, today for help managing your medical bills and expenses after an accident.