Who Can Make a Claim on an Injury Settlement or Award?
When you are hurt in an accident, your automatic thought may be to sue the other party. But have you ever thought about what that process would look like? Filing a personal injury claim is how you can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, transportation expenses, future medical costs, and more.
However, the debt you accumulate while dealing with the injury has to be paid from the settlement or award. This means that proceeds from your personal injury award can be claimed by others. It is important to understand how this works so you know the true value of your settlement or award following an injury.
Who gets a portion of my compensation?
After reaching an agreement, you will be given a check written by the insurance company with your compensation. If you are represented by a lawyer, a portion of your lawyers’ fees will be reduced from your compensation. Many personal injury lawyers work out a contingency fee arrangement with their clients. In a contingency fee arrangement, you agree to pay a portion of your lawyers’ fees through your compensation instead of paying hourly fees.
If you used some of your insurance to cover the costs of your medical bills or other damages, you will also have to reimburse your insurance companies through your compensation. After all parties have been covered, whatever is remaining will be rewarded to you.
Third parties can file liens against your lawsuit
A third party involved in your case can file a lien against the settlement you receive. If filed, the lien will be presented in court and will have to be approved or denied by the judge presiding over the case. If the lien is approved, the person holding it will be paid from the settlement amount you are awarded prior to you receiving any money from said award.
It is important to note that a lien can be placed by anyone, not just someone involved with your injury. For example, if you owe back taxes or child support, the award can face liens for these items.
Who can place a lien on your settlement?
Anyone in these four categories can place a lien on your settlement:
- Providers of benefits in the government (VA, Medicare, and Medicaid)
- Private insurance companies
- Healthcare providers
- Workers’ compensation insurance
If the VA, Medicare, or Medicaid paid for medical expenses stemming from your injury, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can file a subrogation lien against your award for the costs. This type of lien is moved to the forefront of the system before all other liens and you only have to pay these expenses if a lien is filed.
Private insurance companies that hold your health and auto policies are also permitted to place liens on your personal injury settlement if they covered the cost of medical care for you. Insurance companies outline how they handle liens on settlements in their policies, so be sure to read through your documents to find out how a lien will affect your settlement.
A doctor, hospital, or clinic might make you sign a letter of protection or lien agreement before treating you. These documents ensure that the medical provider is paid for the treatment they provide an injured patient. The statute of limitations for this type of lien is 120 days from the date the patient was discharged from care.
If you suffered the injury on the job and used workers’ compensation insurance, your employer might decide to file a lien against your settlement if you filed a third-party personal injury claim against someone not affiliated with your employer. These third-party claims often involve contractors, vendors, and members of the public. The employer can file a lien against the settlement to help recover the costs of insurance for their workers’ compensation coverage.
At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, we have been fighting for Chattanooga personal injury victims since 1945. If you or a loved one have been hurt because of another person’s negligence, our practice can help you with our top-notch legal representation. Call our trusted attorneys at 423-756-7923, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, and North Georgia.
Licensed for 34 years, Michael Augustine Wagner is a Personal Injury and Motor Vehicle Accidents lawyer in Chattanooga Tennessee. Learn More