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Posted in Personal Injury on August 21, 2022
When you receive medical treatment for a personal injury accident, the medical providers may have liens against your settlement proceeds. Your attorney must pay the liens for your NYC personal injury case before you can receive any money for damages. However, New York laws limit some liens that providers and health insurance companies can place on personal injury settlements.
New York Code LIE §189 states that hospitals have liens on the settlement proceeds that personal injury victims receive. The lien covers any unpaid medical bills for treatment you received related to the personal injury case.
Additionally, New York General Obligations Code §5-335 restricts subrogation claims (liens) on personal injury settlements by most health insurance companies. However, it does not apply to Medicaid and Medicare insurance. It also does not apply to workers’ comp insurance, self-funded ERISA health plans, and no-fault settlements.
There are no restrictions against liens by medical providers. Therefore, if your doctor provided care and agreed to wait for payment, they have a lien against your settlement money. Most medical providers can assert liens on settlement proceeds.
It is not wise to ignore a medical lien in your personal injury case. Refusing to pay the lien could result in being sued by the medical provider or health insurance company. Furthermore, not paying the lien could cause problems receiving future health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare benefits.
New York City personal injury lawyers have an obligation to pay valid and lawful medical liens and subrogation claims. However, skilled injury lawyers negotiate with the providers and companies to lower the amount of their liens.
The right to recover money for liens from personal injury settlements can be confusing. Working with an experienced injury lawyer can avoid problems. Your lawyer understands the law, including the parties who can legally place a lien on your settlement proceeds.
Your lawyer attempts to negotiate a lower payment for medical and health insurance liens. The companies are not required to accept a lower payment for their liens. However, skilled accident lawyers understand how to approach the companies and make a compelling argument why it is an undue hardship for you to pay the lien.
In many cases, the companies agree to accept a lower payment for their liens. If so, you do not owe the remaining money for the medical bills. Instead, the provider “writes it off” after they receive the negotiated amount from your lawyer.
In personal injury cases, injury victims in New York have some protections against liens. However, accident victims in other states do not enjoy these protections. As a result, any medical provider or health insurance company could place a lien on their personal injury settlement.
The reason for these liens is that you do not benefit twice from the same injury claim. In other words, if you do not have to reimburse your doctors, hospitals, and health insurance company, you receive money intended to pay for your medical care. Also, it helps ensure doctors and hospitals receive payment for their services.
A portion of your personal injury settlement reimburses you for medical bills and expenses incurred because of the accident. You would not have incurred these bills if it had not been for the injury. If you did not pay those bills, you receive the benefit twice – you received free medical care and you were reimbursed for the free medical care.
Allowing medical liens and subrogation claims on personal injury settlements prevents unfair or unjust enrichment. The benefit for New York injury victims is that they have protection from some liens under state law.
Your attorney deducts attorneys’ fees and costs from the settlement before giving you a check for the net proceeds.
Personal injury lawyers in New York typically work on a contingency fee. Their attorneys’ fees are a percentage of the settlement proceeds.
You do not owe attorneys’ fees if the lawyer does not recover any money for your claim. You will agree to the percentage when you hire a lawyer.
Many personal injury law firms pay the costs incurred during the case for you. Then, when you receive a settlement, the lawyer reimburses the law firm for the costs. The total costs vary, depending on the case.
If you have questions about liens, fees, and costs, ask the personal injury attorney about those matters during your free consultation.
If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.
We have two convenient locations in New York:
Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242