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What are Hospital Liens in Car Accident Claims?

February 18, 2021

Hospital liens, also commonly referred to as medical liens, can be a crucial part of the process of obtaining medical care after a person has been injured in a car accident. If you or somebody you care about is injured in an accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver, the most immediate concern you should have is receiving medical care. Regardless of whether or not your injuries are major or minor, you must be treated so that you can make a full recovery. However, for moderate to severe injuries, medical bills can become incredibly costly, and victims can have trouble paying these bills while they are waiting for a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance. One way to pay for these medical bills is to allow the hospital or medical provider to place a lien on any eventual settlement that the victim may receive.

Hospital and Medical Provider Liens

In various states throughout the country, hospitals and other medical providers are allowed to file a lien for repayment of any amount of money that they spent on treatment for a person injured in a car accident. Some medical providers may ask an injury victim to sign a lien letter stating that they submit to the lien against any settlement that they may receive. In general, medical providers are required to follow strict protocols in order for the medical or hospital lien to be valid.

Do You Need a Hospital or Medical Provider Lien?

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you cannot wait around until their insurance carrier decides they want to pay for your medical bills before you receive medical care. In general, any person who is in a car accident and sustains moderate to severe injuries needs immediate treatment. This treatment must continue until they reached the point of maximum medical recovery.

Often, treatment for injuries ends or is significantly underway by the time the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier decides to settle the case. Sometimes, an injury victim has to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in order to recover compensation, and the outcome of a trial could take a year or more to reach a resolution.

In the meantime, it may be necessary for the injury victim to accept that the hospital or medical provider has placed a lien on their eventual settlement or verdict in the case. If the injury victim does not have personal health insurance that will cover the costs of care, a hospital lien may be inevitable. Also, it is important to point out that even if a personal insurance carrier does cover the costs of treatment, they will also be entitled to repayment from any eventual settlement or jury verdict in your favor.

Will the Hospital Negotiate on the Repayment Amount?

Whether or not a hospital or medical provider will accept a lower amount than the initial billing cannot be determined right away. In many cases, we will see that a medical provider places a lien for the full amount of care at maximum rates in the hopes that injury victims will simply pay when they receive their settlement or jury verdict. However, it is not uncommon for hospitals or medical providers to accept a lower amount than what they initially asked for. Injury victims should work with a skilled Lexington car accident lawyer who has experience negotiating these matters.