NEW YORK – If you were recently awarded a settlement for a personal injury accident in New York, you might have been surprised to learn that you have a lien against your settlement funds. According to top personal injury lawyers in Queens, a lien is a legal right that allows a person or entity (usually a healthcare provider) to take part of your settlement award as payment for a debt that you may owe. Liens are often placed on personal injury settlements when a creditor covers the upfront costs of care soon after an accident takes place.
Liens generally stay put until the debt is paid off. In some rare cases, it may be possible to negotiate the lien down and avoid the full cost of the debt. If you have a lien on your personal injury settlement, a personal injury lawyer can help you ensure you don’t pay back more than what is required by law.
Who Can Put a Lien on My Personal Injury Settlement?
A “lien holder” is the entity to whom you owe a portion of your personal injury settlement. Typically, these entities include:
- Healthcare providers such as doctors, clinics, and hospitals
- Medicaid, Medicare, or the Veterans Administration
- Health and auto insurance providers
Liens typically arise on a personal injury settlement when the injured party cannot afford treatment(s) he or she received immediately following the accident. If you were injured in an auto accident in New York and could not afford medical care at the time, you likely owe your healthcare providers who covered the costs. You may have multiple liens against your accident settlement gains depending on how many entities covered your immediate expenses.
Healthcare Provider Liens in New York
The most common entities that place liens on personal injury settlements are healthcare providers. They can place liens one of two ways:
- Making you sign a letter of protection before providing healthcare
- Exercising their lien rights under state law
A lien is an agreement between two parties that the injured party will repay healthcare provider for medical treatment through the injured party’s settlement award. Failing to pay back your debt may result in legal action against you.
Other Entities to Whom You May Owe a Debt
Other entities to whom you may owe a portion of your personal injury settlement award may include Medicaid and Medicare. If Medicaid or Medicare covered the costs of your treatment, you likely have a lien against your settlement. Your private health and auto insurer may have also placed liens on your settlement award if they paid for a portion of your medical bills prior to you settling your claim.
Receive Fair Compensation for Your Accident in New York
It is important to note that there is a little a personal injury attorney can do to reduce or forgive a lien. Once a lien is approved by a judge, it must be repaid.
Top personal injury lawyers in Queens will make it a priority to ensure your settlement covers every dime of your medical bills, transportation costs, and other expenses associated with your injury, as intended. At Cellino & Barnes, our team of trial lawyers represent clients who have been injured in car accidents, medical malpractice cases, and more. Call now for a free consultation.
Cellino & Barnes (800) 888-8888