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Medical liens in personal injury cases

Once your personal injury claim is settled and you get the settlement or award you’ve been waiting for, you will likely feel a sense of relief. The ordeal is over, you can finally move on. Or can you?

Some personal injury awards are subject to liens, which are claims made by insurance providers, medical practitioners, and other agencies to reclaim any money advanced to you after you were injured. Examples of such claimants include:

  • Hospitals, clinics, and doctors
  • Medicare or Medicaid
  • Auto and health insurance providers
  • Workers’ compensation insurance

Hospital and physician liens

When you file a personal injury claim for medical bills related to your injuries, the entity that covered these costs may file a lien against the money you receive. Medical care providers will establish their claim by exercising their lien rights under New York State law.

Medicaid or Medicare

If your medical treatment costs were covered by Medicaid or Medicare, then they might have a lien against your settlement proceeds. The process for reimbursing these services is known as subrogation, and such a lien takes priority over all other claims against your proceeds.

It is important to remember that up to a year may pass before you receive a reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, so it’s recommended that you put money aside to pay their claim when they finally contact you.

Auto and health insurance providers

In New York, the law bars insurance companies that cover the costs of medical treatment from seeking reimbursement in personal injury or wrongful death actions. The exception is if your plan is self-funded, making it exempt from state law. Self-funded plans are those covered by your employer. These plans are uncommon: the majority of group health plans pay premiums to an insurance carrier to provide coverage for employees.

Workers’ compensation insurance

If you were injured at work or while carrying out employment-related duties, then you don’t usually have to reimburse the company your employer uses for workers’ compensation insurance. The only exception is if you file a personal injury claim against a third party (e.g., a vendor): in that case, you may have to reimburse the insurance company.

When a federal entity such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a claim on your settlement, it has up to six years to take action. In New York, private insurance providers have up to three years.

When you hire a New York personal injury attorney to assist you in pursuing a claim, they can advise you on which entities may have subrogation rights to your settlement and structure your compensation demand so that you receive as much money as you need to cover any liens while rebuilding your future. Jayson Lutzky is an experienced personal injury attorney. He has helped recover millions of dollars in compensation for his clients over the years. If you or a loved one were injured, then be sure to consult with an attorney, especially if you have a medical lien. You may reach Mr. Lutzky’s office at 718-329-9500.

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