A personal injury lien in California is the legal right of a third party to take a portion of the proceeds recovered in a settlement or jury verdict. Liens may be necessary when injured victims need medical treatment but do not have the funds or insurance coverage to pay for it while waiting for their case to resolve.
Hospitals, doctors, and healthcare providers who accept a lien are essentially offering their services “on credit,” with the guarantee they will be reimbursed first out of the personal injury settlement or award.
While liens are legally binding contracts, it is possible to negotiate a reduction in payment to medical providers, but an experienced attorney best handles this. This is just one of the reasons to hire a personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in California laws regarding medical liens and who can protect your interests through every step of the legal process.
Common lienholders in personal injury cases
Who can put a lien on the proceeds of your personal injury case? The following are the most common holders of medical liens:
- Hospitals and medical providers
- Private insurance companies
- Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and Medi-Cal
- Worker’s compensation insurance for work-related accidents
Liens held by government agencies such as the VA and Medicare have different rights for recovering funds from a personal injury lawsuit filed after a car crash or slip and fall accident. In the case of Medi-Cal, there is a 25 percent rule that stipulates the claim for repayment must be lowered by this amount to account for legal fees and attorney expenses.
How a skilled attorney can help
Settlement proceeds can be significantly reduced by liens, especially in cases resulting in catastrophic injuries. Plaintiffs without qualified legal counsel can find themselves in dire straits when medical liens eat away at the bulk of their judgment.
Few claimants have the knowledge, time, or resources to bargain with lienholders on their own. This underscores the importance of retaining competent legal counsel right from the start. An injury attorney will evaluate your case, advocate on your behalf, and identify all sources of compensation to maximize your settlement or court award.
Moreover, your attorney will know the best strategies for mitigating health insurance and medical liens attached to your case. Most liens are negotiable and limited if you have an attorney representing your claim. They will also make sure that pending liens are legally enforceable and valid under state and federal laws.
Contact our team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers
Suppose you are injured because of the negligence of another, and do not have the means to pay for necessary medical care during the litigation process. In that case, a lien can help bridge this gap but is best approached with sound legal guidance. Speak to a Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Salamati Law with experience litigating a wide range of complex cases. Get the money damages you deserve after being wrongly injured by hiring a tenacious advocate who understands lien laws in California. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.