Tips To Minimize Personal Injury Liens
Liens can reduce your personal injury award significantly. Use these measures to minimize the reduction.
Ensure the Validity of the Liens
First, ensure that the liens on your personal injury settlement are all valid. For example, there are clear laws that define who can hold a lien against your settlement. Debt collection agencies, Medicare/Medicaid, and insurance companies are some of the parties who may have legitimate liens against your injury settlement. However, that might not stop unscrupulous people from sneaking in some liens.
In addition, you must ensure that all the said legitimate parties had levied appropriate liens. For example, if your health insurance company pays for your accident treatment, they may be entitled to some money from your auto accident settlement. However, this is only the case if the settlement is for the same accident for which you were treated. The health insurance company doesn't have the right to hold a lien on your insurance awards from a separate accident.
Ensure the Accuracy of the Amounts
Even for legitimate liens, there is a risk that some of the lienholders might inflate their figures. Do due diligence to confirm the accuracy of the figures. Health care providers are particularly notorious for inflating their liens. For example, health care providers often negotiate with insurance companies to treat the insurers' clients at subsidized rates. However, a health care provider might want to charge you full rates when collecting their liens.
Secondly, some states have laws that determine how much a lienholder can collect. For example, some states require lienholders to reduce their figures by the percentage of the settlement you have to pay as a legal fee. Make sure the lienholder does that if your state has such laws.
Negotiate with the Lienholders
The best way to reduce personal injury liens, the legitimate liens, is to negotiate with the lien holder. Start the negotiations before you begin the settlement negotiations or lawsuit. You won't have any leverage with the lienholders if you approach them after the case's conclusion. The same will be true if the case is nearly through.
If you approach the lienholders early enough, you may convince them that:
- Your case is difficult, and you will be spending many resources for pursuing your damages
- You might not be motivated enough to win the case if the entire settlement will go to the lienholders
- The expected settlement is not that big
Make your arguments and figures realistic. Don't give the lienholders reason to doubt your arguments by offering them extremely low amounts.
For more information, reach out to a personal injury lawyer.