If you get a settlement from the defendant, your personal injury lawyer may tell you that it’s not ‘game over’ yet. This is especially true if you have already received a payout of any amount from you or the defendant’s insurance company. The insurer will demand the money it paid you to be paid back by putting a lien on your personal injury case. Your personal injury lawyer will inform you that liens take first priority. This means that they will be paid off first before you receive a cent of your settlement money
Sources of liens on your personal injury settlement
Your personal injury lawyer will inform you that these are the possible sources of liens on your personal injury settlement. However, this is not an exhaustive list:
● Unpaid federal and/or state taxes
● Unpaid child support
● Unpaid medical bills
● Medicare or Medicaid payments
● Health insurance reimbursements for accident-related injuries
● Workers’ comp payments
● Short or long-term disability payments that are related to your injuries
● Debts from other creditors
How a lien is placed on your case
Your personal injury lawyer in Pleasant Hill will tell you that there are many ways a lien can be placed on your case. Some can be legally levied. This is the case with tax or child support. Either you or your lawyer will get legal notice of this lien in the mail.
If you were previously reimbursed by an insurer, the clauses in the insurance policy automatically entitle them to a lien if you receive a personal injury settlement. The same is true if you have outstanding personal loans or credit card debts.Have your personal injury lawyer do the negotiating whenever you have outstanding liens on your personal injury settlement.
What recourse options you have
Unless you can prove that a lien was improperly levied on your settlement, there is little you can do to remove it. A good example of this is if a lien was levied by your insurance company for a payout that it listed was related to the personal injury accident but was actually caused by an injury that was completely unrelated to the accident. Indeed, if you can prove that the lien was wrongfully placed, you can have it removed. If you can’t do this, then you can have your personal injury lawyer negotiate a lower payout with the entities/people who placed the liens on your personal injury settlement.