What is a medical lien while I wait for my car accident claim?


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Question:

What is a medical lien while I wait for my car accident claim?

Answer:

A  medical lien in a car insurance claim occurs when a health insurance provider who is paying your medical bills after an accident asserts a claim to your settlement. Immediately after a car accident occurs, you may begin to need treatment. You may be rushed to the hospital, given emergency treatment, and have a whole host of other medical procedures done over the course of the days, weeks and months after your accident. During this time period, your health insurer is probably going to be picking up all these costs. 

However, when you get into an accident caused by someone else, the car insurer of the responsible party is supposed to take care of all of your costs. This means they are also supposed to pay for your medical bills. They will need to pay for these bills either through offering you a settlement outside of court, or because a jury orders them to after you file a lawsuit. 

Since your damage award includes payment for the medical bills, it only makes sense that you will need to turn this money over to the health insurer who spent all that money on your treatment. After all, if your medical bills total $100,000 and your settlement factors in that $100,000, it wouldn't make sense to let you keep all that extra money and have the health insurer be out the cash. As such, the health insurer may place a lien or claim on your settlement so they'll get paid back the money they spent when the settlement comes through. 

Often, you will want to negotiate the lien with the health insurer and/or the car insurer during the settlement process. A lawyer will help you to do this, so consult with one immediately if you receive notice of a potential lien. 

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