Hi, I’m John Medler, personal injury lawyer with The Medler Law Firm – Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys. Today I’d like to talk to you for a moment about what happens with your hospital bills after you’ve had a personal injury settlement. What normally happens when you go to the hospital after an accident is you give them your insurance card. That might be Medicaid, it might be Medicare, it might be your own private health insurance plan. And then would normally happens is that entity, whether it’s Medicare or Medicaid or your private health insurer, will normally pay the hospital and then that person will then try and turn around and get reimbursement from you.
But what happens if you have no health insurance? If you go to the hospital, then they’re just going to stick you with the bill. And what happens is the hospital then can try and take part of your personal injury settlement to pay themselves back for the hospital bill. So what they normally do is they send you a lien letter. L-I-E-N. Lien. And that means that if they do it right and they send you that letter, you’re going to be required out of your portion of the personal injury settlement to pay the hospital back. But keep in mind there are certain procedural requirements that the hospital has to go through to make sure they send that lien letter correctly.
Sometimes the hospital will leave and forget to send the lien letter. So when they do send the lien letter, we make sure that they’ve dotted all their i’s and crossed all their t’s to make sure their lien letter is correct. And if it’s not correct, we don’t pay them out of your personal injury settlement. That doesn’t mean that the bill goes away. It just means that we don’t have to pay them out of your personal injury lawsuit.
That hospital when they try and send you that lien letter is going to try and recover the amount they paid for the hospital bill. Keep in mind that your personal injury lawyer can often try and negotiate that lien amount from the hospital downward. The way we do that is we call up the hospital and we say, “Hey, we can either take the settlement or not take the settlement. If we decide not to take the settlement, this case could go to trial, and we could lose. And in that case, Mr. Hospital, you don’t get any money.”
For more information about hospital liens and how they affect your personal injury settlement, check out our website at www.MedlerLawFirm.com or get in touch with our Orange County personal injury lawyer for a free consultation.