Personal Injury Liens and Subrogation Overview
As you work toward a resolution of your North Carolina injury claim, you also need to be aware of any liens or subrogation interests that may be attached to your personal injury settlement or judgment. Even if you are uncertain about what these legal terms mean, it is essential that you understand the basic process of subrogation, how liens may arise, how those liens may be attached to your settlement, and how medical liens operate. This overview provides a simple understanding of how liens and subrogation may affect your settlement so that you may begin exploring our other more in-depth articles.
Generally, a lien is the right of a third party to receive reimbursement directly from your personal injury settlement for services that they may have provided. While the rights of third party medical providers to demand payment from your settlement may initially feel unfair, there are many strategies that we you may employ to combat or mitigate the amount that may be subrogated from your North Carolina personal injury settlement.
Personal injury liens may make the process of seeking compensation for your losses in an automobile accident even more complex. Liens provide a third party to possess interest or ownership in your personal or real property to satisfy the money they have expend on your behalf. When you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, healthcare providers, insurance companies, and even government programs may be able to place liens on the settlement or judgment proceeds from your accident. Therefore, when you receive a settlement or judgment from your accident, a portion or more of the proceeds may be disbursed to one of the lien holders.
A third party may also be able to attach their right to reimbursement to your recovery proceeds through a process called subrogation. When injured in an accident, medical treatment is often a necessary occurrence. Generally, medical providers and certain health insurance policies will secure their right to reimbursement by using those laws that government subrogation interests. If the medical provider or health insurance company correctly attaches their interests to your settlement proceeds they may seek reimbursement for some or all of their expenses incurred, depending on the type of lien or subrogation interest. North Carolina is unique in that the state strictly prohibits subrogation clauses in state regulated privately funded health insurance policies. This means that certain health insurance policies are not able to receive subrogation interests or rights to your personal injury settlement or judgment. It is important to understand that that this does not mean that other health insurance companies or policies that are regulated by federal law or other states cannot.
Medical liens may be attached to settlement or judgment proceeds from your personal injury case when healthcare providers, insurance companies, or government programs, have either provided medical services or paid directly for your medical services, treatment, or equipment. The medical services, treatment, or equipment that was paid for or provided must relate to the injuries sustained from the personal injury claim.
Determining which parties may have a lien on your recovery proceeds depends upon who provided the healthcare or medical services. In North Carolina, there are several types of common personal injury liens or subrogation interests, including: medical provider or physician’s liens; Medicaid liens; Medicare liens; Healthcare insurance liens; ERISA liens; child support liens; State Employees and Teachers Health Plan (SEHP) liens; TRICARE liens; Federal Employees Health Benefit Act (FEHBA) liens; North Carolina Workers’ Compensation liens; Federal Workers’ Compensation liens; and State Vocational Rehabilitation liens.
The most common lien that may be attached to your personal injury settlement is a medical provider or physician’s lien. Any physician who provides medical services can claim a medical lien against the proceeds of your settlement or judgment. This includes, but is not limited to, physicians, dentists, nurses, and hospitals. In general, physician’s liens provide a health care or medical provider the ability to secure an interest on the proceeds received from a personal injury settlement or judgment if services are provided to a party injured in a motor vehicle accident.
In handling your own personal injury matter, it is important that you understand the process of liens and subrogation, to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. This section of the website is dedicated to providing an understanding of the lien and subrogation process, and includes such topics as: types of liens; negotiating liens; ambulance liens, and wage garnishment. Here at Wallace Pierce Law, our focus is on helping the injured victims of car accidents handle their own claim, without the need for an attorney.