The Significance of Medical Liens in A Personal Injury Case

By September 20, 2010 Personal Injury

Frequently, when someone is injured in an accident, their injuries require medical attention. Sometimes the victim just requires and immediate evaluation while other times they require extensive and long-term medical treatment. If the victim has medical insurance then the issue of who will pay the bills-at least initially- is simple. If the victim is uninsured-as is the situation for millions of Americans- then the issue of who will be responsible for the medical bills can be an huge issue and even a bar to the victim receiving the medical treatment that she so desperately need and deserve. As a response to this problem, the medical and legal community came up with a solution in the form a medical lien.

If you have been treated by a doctor or emergency room lately, you were probably asked wither in person or on the questionnaire you filled out whether the reason you were there was due to an accident of any kind. Physicians and hospitals have become accustomed to determining at the outset of a case whether the injuries are the result of an accident. They do this, in part, because they want to know how they will paid for the services they provide. Doctor’s are not required to accept patients that do not have insurance (with the exception of emergency room doctor’s for medical and/or life threatening emergencies). The truth, however, is that a doctor miss out on a significant amount of income without an arrangement to accept patient’s from personal injury accidents that are nor covered by insurance. Hence the medical lien was born.

A medical lien allows a doctor to teat a non-insured, or under-insured patient, with the expectation that the doctor will receive payment when the personal injury case is settled. In most cases, the doctor has the patient sign an acknowledgement of lien stating that the patient understands that the doctor will have a lien on the settlement proceeds received by the patient at the conclusion of her case. Additionally, the medical provider may have the attorney for the victim sign an acknowledgment as well indicating that she is aware of the lien. This is done because the settlement check is generally sent to the attorney for the victim to disperse. In most cases, the victim’s attorney will pay the doctor from the settlement funds before the funds are dispersed to the client. In the event that the victim does not receive a settlement, loses her case at trial, or receives a settlement that does not provide enough funds to cover her treatment she will still be responsible for payment of the bill as a rule. In the majority of cases, however, the medical lien arrangement works well for everyone involved. The accident victim is able to receive the medical treatment they need and medical providers gain some degree of assurance that they will be paid for services rendered.

If you have any additional questions regarding medical liens or anything involving personal injury accidents, please contact the California personal injury law firm of Ledger & Associates at 1-800-300-0001 or visit them online at www.ledgerlaw.com.