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How Does A Lien Affect Your Personal Injury Case?

A lien is a third party's legitimate right to receive all or a portion of the settlement funds. That third party could be anybody, from a physician who treated you, to an ex-spouse who owes you child maintenance. In essence, the lien is a demand for payment, and the law acknowledges that some parties can have a greater claim to your settlement funds than you have. If a lien has been put on your settlement, it will be paid off before you collect your money. However, for this, note that you will need a personal injury attorney by your side. 

Find out more about liens in this article, including exactly what they are, who really can file them, and the impact they can have on the compensation you receive for your injuries.

Typical Lien Types

Some of the most frequent liens in a case of personal injury include those from your health professional or the insurance companies. Usually, medical procedures can be pricey, and your insurance will want to know whether you're bringing a personal injury claim.

Medical Facility Liens

In accordance with hospital lien regulations, a hospital may file a lien for "reasonable charges" associated with your care and treatment. The hospital will probably give you a lien letter to sign while you're there. Your agreement to submit to the lien and pay them from your settlement when you get it is confirmed in that letter. Both doctors and nurses in the state of Idaho are eligible for liens. Different states have different rules. 

Liens on Medicare and Medicaid

The government has a right to reimbursement for any part of your hospital care that was funded by tax dollars. According to Idaho's Medicaid recovery statute, the state has a fundamental claim to recover the funds it spent on your care if your settlement does not really specify a part related to medical costs. They get "first dibs" on your settlement, to put it simply, so they can get their funds refunded.

V.A. Liens

Similar to Medicare and Medicaid, the Veterans Administration is a government agency. Hence, the same regulations apply here as well. The VA can and will put a lien on your settlement if it paid for just any portion of your treatment.

Liens for Workers' Compensation

Did you sustain an injury at work? In the event that worker's compensation is paid for your medical costs, your employer may file a lien on your settlement to cover the sum paid for your care. Idaho does, however, offer an exemption if your accident was determined to have been caused in whole or in part by your employer.