When you win or receive a settlement in a personal injury case, you may be surprised to see that some entities have already laid claim to a small piece of it. This is normal though, and there are companies and people who can legally ask for part of your settlement before it is paid out. These requests are called liens, but if you are suspicious of a lien that has been placed on your winnings, a San Mateo County, California motor vehicle accident lawyer may be able to help.
Why Can Someone Put a Lien on My Settlement?
A lien can ensure that a company gets paid back for any services that were rendered before you received a settlement. These liens can also ensure that you do not get to “double dip” and get paid twice for the same thing.
An example of this can involve your healthcare costs. Let’s say that you have $10,000 in medical expenses. You have decent insurance and you have hit your deductible, so your insurer takes on a big chunk of that cost. Let’s say they pay $5,000. Then you sue and receive a sizeable settlement. Your insurer can ask for that $5,000 back. Otherwise, you had someone pay a part of your medical expenses and then received more money for expenses you did not actually have to pay for out of your own pocket.
Who Can Put a Lien on My Personal Injury Settlement?
There are a few entities that can legally put a lien on your settlement. Some common sources of liens include:
Health insurers: We just told you how these liens can work. It is important to note that both private insurers and government-funded benefits providers, like Medicare and Medicaid, can place a lien on your settlement.
Doctors and hospitals: If you do not have great insurance, sometimes you can receive treatment and let the doctors or hospital take the money later. In most cases, you will sign paperwork indicating that you will allow them to place a lien on your settlement so that you do not have to pay out of pocket upon receiving care.
Auto insurance companies: Let’s say your auto insurance pays for some repairs to your vehicle after an accident. Then you receive a settlement. If you sued for property damage, your insurer can take some of that money and pay itself back for those repairs your policy covered.
Can a Lawyer Help Me Negotiate?
While it can be annoying to see a lien on your personal injury settlement, they are usually reasonable. If you are confused about a lien or believe that someone has incorrectly placed a lien on your settlement, a lawyer can help. An experienced attorney might even be able to negotiate lower payments to some lien holders.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
If you are pursuing a personal injury case, you do not have to go it alone. Contact the Law Offices of Allister R. Liao to learn more about how we can be of assistance. Schedule your free consultation today!