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What Are Medical Liens in a Personal Injury Case

It’s an understatement to say that people who have been in accidents and suffered serious injuries have a great deal on their plates. The entire situation can get worse when they discover that someone has placed a lien on their compensation.

It may be that you find yourself in this situation and you’re not even entirely sure what a lien is or how and why it affects your case. Learn about medical liens in a personal injury case, how they will affect your compensation and settlement, and why a lawyer is important.


It’s likely that while you pursue your personal injury case, you’re going to rack up medical bills and suffer from lost wages and the like. This means you might have to work out arrangements to get everything is taken care of, which can sometimes involve deferments or payment arrangements.

A lien is simply a claim that’s asserted against your settlement to ensure that anyone to whom you owe money is paid. When you receive compensation, lien holders are paid before you get any money, and you then are paid the remainder. These can be levied by your insurance provider, by medical providers or hospitals, for worker’s compensation bills and even for Medicare or Medicaid bills.


Your insurance company might, in some cases, advance money to help you pay bills while you’re pursuing your legal case against the negligent party. In such cases, when you finally get your payout, you’ll need to repay the money your insurance covered. They might place a lien on the settlement to ensure this happens.


Very commonly, you might have to work out deferred arrangements or payment plans with the hospital while you’re undergoing medical treatments. In these situations, the hospital might discuss a lien letter with you.

This letter must be filed with your county’s recorder’s office within 6 months of your hospital release and has to include all proper information as well as the hospital’s. It allows the medical caregiver to place a lien against the settlement to collect repayment when the time comes.


When you’re hurt on the job, if your medical bills and lost compensation are covered by state worker’s comp, and you then get a later award, you have to reimburse worker’s comp. A lien can accomplish this when the time comes.


Anytime you receive aid from the government, they also have the right to be repaid for what they advance. This means if you’ve used Medicaid or Medicare to help pay your medical bills while pursuing your case, there can be a lien placed to ensure they are repaid from your settlement.


Dealing with liens can be very confusing, and to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve, as well as collecting as much as possible, you should hire an injury lawyer. Many times an attorney might be able to negotiate a lesser amount with the lien holder and can make sure that your compensation covers everything it needs to cover.

If you’ve been in an accident in California and need help dealing with liens or pursuing damages, call the attorneys at Dunnion Law today.