What are Liens in Personal Injury

Liens are often placed on personal injury settlements

When you are injured in a car accident, on the job, or in another type of accident, your primary concern should be healing. But, in today’s healthcare environment, worries about the costs you incur after an injury can be overwhelming. One of the reasons that you make a personal injury claim is to ensure that you are compensated for your injuries and the associated costs.

Before settling your claim, you may accumulate debts to medical providers, insurance agencies, and others. To ensure that they get a portion of your personal injury settlement, creditors and agencies may place a lien on your settlement to ensure that they are repaid for up-front costs that they have covered. These liens stay in place until the debts are paid off.

Who is entitled to reimbursement from your personal injury settlement?

Most people are covered by different types of insurance and social services that help with these costs. According to New York State law, businesses and agencies that may become lienholders on your settlement include:

  • Healthcare providers such as doctors, hospitals, nursing and rehabilitation facilities, therapists, laboratories, etc. can be lienholders that are reimbursed from your settlement money. These are contractual liens. They are owed due to an agreement between you and your healthcare provider.
  • Medicaid, Medicare, VA and medical plans run by a Federal Government agency. Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans Administration (VA), and other health insurance plans run by the Federal Government. Depending on the type of plan, you may only owe a percentage of the amount paid by the insurance. Liens may also be placed on workers compensation insurance payments that cover your medical bills and time lost from work when you hurt on the job.
  • Other health insurance and auto insurance providers. Other insurance providers may have a right to place a lien on your settlement. Sometimes, however, an insurance company will try to recoup money from your settlement when they are not entitled to it. After all, you’ve been paying insurance premiums so that they will pay when you are injured. New York law recently changed to address this situation. That means that some liens by insurance companies that were once legitimate may no longer be valid liens.

Liens on personal injury settlements can become very complicated, but they must be paid before you can use funds from your settlement. Penalties for not paying liens on your settlement can be severe. You could lose all your settlement money if you do not handle the liens appropriately. Your personal injury lawyer should estimate the amount of the liens you owe and consider the expected liens as part of the settlement negotiations. Your attorney should also determine that all the liens presented are valid. Without an experienced personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the nuances of the New York laws that were recently updated, you may not get all the compensation you deserve.

Call for a free consultation with a Bronx personal injury attorney

If you want to know if you can expect liens on your personal injury settlement, New York personal injury lawyer Evan W. Kohn can help you understand and negotiate these liens. Contact The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn online or by calling 718-409-5500 to arrange a free consultation about your case.

Attorney Evan Kohn
About the Author: Evan Kohn
Evan W. Kohn is an experienced personal injury attorney serving the New York City area. He handles cases ranging from auto accidents to personal injury, Slip and falls, truck accidents, and medical malpractice.