Liens, claims, and reimbursement demands are ways for medical providers to reach into your injury compensation and take their portion.
While it seems unfair, it is a reasonable request and acceptable one by the state of North Carolina. After all, these providers have given you services, or your insurance company has paid for expenses that you are now being reimbursed for; therefore, they want their money back.
Pursuant to the North Carolina General Statutes Section 44-49, a lien may be applied to the sums recovered in damages for personal injury or in any civil action within the state.
Which Parties Can File a Lien Against Injury Compensation?
Several parties have an interest in your personal injury settlement, and they can seek money through your personal injury recovery. The following are just some that may request a lien against your settlement:
- United States Workers’ Compensation
- Vocational Rehabilitation Services
- North Carolina Teachers and State Employees Comprehensive Major Medical Plan
- Health Care Providers
- Workers’ Compensation
- Ambulance Services
When Can a Lien be Placed?
Only certain circumstances allow these companies and agencies to file a lien against your settlement. North Carolina has their laws and regulations that prohibit or bar one from filing. However, the medical provider or company that treated you without requiring an immediate payment does have the right to request payment through a lien on your settlement.
Also, your lien will require that you satisfy the debts claimed in the lien before you receive your portion of the settlement. This means that your personal injury attorney will receive the compensation, pay all necessary liens, and then disperse the remainder to you.
Healthcare providers are current holders of these liens, because they may have you sign a Letter of Protection. This is issued to patients receiving treatments and have a pending lawsuit action in place. The hospital or medical provider will not require you to pay for services upfront; instead, you will sign an agreement paying their terms after you have received the settlement.
Failure to pay any of these bills can go on your credit report; therefore, do not ignore a private agreement with a physician just to keep your settlement.
Tell Your Attorney about any Agreements and Pending Balances
If you have Medicare or a government-assisted form of insurance, and they have covered expenses associated with your injury, it is imperative you tell your attorney so that they can take the necessary steps to prevent a lien, but satisfy the debt. Your attorney may also be able to negotiate a lower payment amount so that you do not lose a significant portion of your injury compensation.
To explore options for your medical liens and the pending lawsuit, contact an attorney at 919-682-5648 or request more information online.