What Is a Hospital or Medical Lien?

After winning a lawsuit, many people assume their cases are complete. However, in certain cases, hospitals, health insurance companies, and governments can file a medical lien against you in an effort to get some of the money returned.

A lien is a request for repayment. For example, if your insurance company pays your medical bills and you later receive money from a settlement, in some cases, that insurance company can place a medical lien against you to get you to repay the company the money it spent on your medical bills.

Hospital Lien Requirements

Some places in the United States give medical facilities and providers the right to file a lien against someone to regain money spent on medical attention for his or her personal injury. Certain medical providers will ask that patients sign forms ensuring that they will pay a medical lien from their settlement to repay the provider for any medical services provided. Hospitals and medical providers must adhere to certain requirements for a lien to be legitimate. The requirements are:

Workers’ Compensation Liens

Workplace injuries have specific requirements and regulations. Medical providers and hospitals can only issue liens for work-related injuries if the workers’ compensation fund covered the medical expenses and lost wages.

Government Liens for Unpaid Medicare and Medicaid

Government liens can be more complicated than other types of medical liens. The overall regulation dictates that the government deserves some payment in liens if it paid for any portion of your injury treatment or recovery. The rules vary depending on what government program employ you.

Negotiating a Lien

With the help of a skilled attorney, you can get the lien amount reduced. There are a few things that you and your attorney can do to negotiate a lien more effectively:

  1. Find out background about the hospital and its lien policies. Determine potential liens and amounts that you may face later.
  2. Check to see if the hospital did the lien perfectly. Many requirements accompany lien filings, and you may be able to discredit the medical lien if the hospital or medical provider made a mistake filing the lien.
  3. Find out whether you have paid any of the lien. You and your attorney should carefully go over any hospital bills and records to make sure you know what the balance on the lien should be.
  4. Carefully review the claim. If the hospital or medical provider made a mistake or is asking for too much money, it is important that you and your attorney catch it before paying.
  5. Do not wait to argue. If you see something wrong with the lien, do not wait to contest the filing. The closer to the final settlement you are, the more difficult it will be to change the claim in any way.

Receiving a lien claim after winning your case can be shocking and confusing. Liens can be complex, so it is important that you have an experienced attorney by your side to help walk you through the process.