A lien may be described as a right to claim against specific property or funds as security for a debt. If you have been injured in a New York personal injury case and received medical treatment, you may need to satisfy specific liens at the conclusion of your case before money recovered in a settlement, verdict or award is paid out to you. Medicare, some private health insurers, and state agencies that administer Medicaid benefits are legally entitled to reimbursement per New York Consolidated Laws, Lien Law – LIE §189.
Ultimately, a lien is a means for them to protect this right. One of the many reasons you should contact an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident is to protect as much of the money recovery of your case from the claims of lienholders as possible. With professional guidance, you can determine how much you may owe and maximize your net money recovery from any compensation you receive.
Liens on Settlement Money
General Obligations Law §5-335 was introduced to prevent health insurance companies from recovering money from settling parties, meaning the plaintiff and defendant in a lawsuit or the releasee and releasor in a settled claim. However, this law does not extend to other medical care providers in tort actions, including no-fault recovery cases, as well as Federal, Medicaid, Medicare and non-self-funded ERISA recovery cases.
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Who Else Is Not Entitled to a Lien?
Recent Federal Court of Appeals rulings and New York law only allow specific benefit plans to be entitled to repayment from personal injury case proceeds. Other select plans under Federal employee benefits statute (ERISA) are not entitled, which is why is it essential to enlist the help of a New York personal injury attorney familiar with such laws to navigate this complex area of law on your behalf.
In no situation should an individual ignore a lien. Doing so is equivalent to refusing to pay what is legally owed and can result in a lawsuit against the victim and their lawyer. Not only that, it can harm future Medicare, Medicaid benefits, and health insurance. By speaking to an attorney, the plaintiff can determine any liens against them and include them in all compensation calculations related to the case.
Negotiating a Lien
Although liens can take a significant amount from a plaintiff’s final compensation, there is, depending upon the specifics of the case and the type of lien, room for negotiation. With the help of an attorney, victims of personal injury cases may be able to have the lien holder reduce the amount of money that they will accept in satisfaction of the lien.
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Dealing with a Personal Injury Lien
The first step in the process of obtaining compensation for an accident injury should be contacting a New York personal injury attorney as soon as possible. By determining the nature of the claims against you and consulting an attorney, you can make sure you get as much compensation as possible while minimizing liens as much as possible. Although personal injury cases can be difficult, the help of a compassionate, experienced, dedicated professional can make all the difference. Call our office now for a free case review and no-obligation consultation at (516) 932-0400.