If you are injured and end up filing a lawsuit against the responsible party, you’ll still need a way to pay for your injuries before you receive your settlement. In that case, there are some entities and individuals you may turn to for help. The issue is when you receive your settlement, those entities and individuals may have a lien on the case, which means they’ll be reimbursed for any costs paid, before you see any of the settlement money.
Health Insurance Liens
Sometimes your health insurance provider pays for some of your medical care after an accident for which you will receive compensation at a later date. When that happens, the health insurer will typically place a lien on your case. For example, if you were injured after your car hit a pothole and you crashed into a parked car, you could use your health insurance coverage to pay for those immediate health-related bills. In the meantime, you may be working on a lawsuit against the city’s maintenance crew. If you win the lawsuit, the health insurer would be reimbursed through the lien.
Medical Provider Liens
Some medical providers have a system in place that pays medical costs for individuals involved in a current lawsuit. For example, you may see a doctor for your injury, and he or she would waive the cost of care, while also putting a lien on your case. After settlement, that doctor would be paid the amount he or she waived.
Workers’ Compensation Liens
If you are injured at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation coverage. If you choose to sue a third party after receiving your workers’ comp payout, the insurance company could put a lien on the settlement if it is won. If you don’t pursue a lawsuit, you would simply receive compensation with no stipulations.
There are situations in which the government steps in to help you pay for your healthcare costs. These government-assisted programs are typically for individuals who are at a certain income, and may include Medicaid, Medicare and Veteran’s Administration. Some programs are not allowed to put liens on your settlement, some can only place a lien for a portion of the cost and others have the right to put a lien on the full amount.
Learning More About Liens
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit against the responsible party for your injury, you should do your part to understand a few things.