After a car accident, it is always a good idea to seek medical attention and be sure that you have not sustained any major injuries. If the accident was the fault of another driver then any medical bills will eventually be paid for by their insurance or through civil litigation, if necessary. However, in the event you had to seek emergency medical care from a hospital after an accident, but did not have insurance to pay for treatment, you may receive a “notice of intent to file a hospital lien” in the mail afterwards.
This document is part of the legal procedure that a hospital must go through in order to file a lien against a patient who was not able to pay for their medical services. The lien itself is a legal document that informs the courts that the hospital still needs to be paid if there is any settlement in the case. Bring this “notice of intent” to your attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will review the lien and make sure that the hospital is not asking for any bloated or outrageous amounts. Your attorney will also make sure that the hospital has followed the proper protocols in filing their lien.
In most cases, the lien is nothing for you to worry about if you have a pending settlement with the insurance company. However, it is still better to pay for medical bills outright and be reimbursed in the settlement. This way there are less parties involved in the case, and less negotiating for your car accident lawyer Dekalb County GArelies on to do.
It is also important to finalize the lien claim before finalizing a settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance. This way you ensure that the insurance company is compensating you for the full amount of your medical bills.
A lien in a personal injury case cannot adversely affect your credit, and cannot be used as evidence of failure to pay a debt.
Having a lien filed in your personal injury case certainly does make things more complicated, but an experienced personal injury attorney will know the proper path to take. It is absolutely crucial that your attorney be informed as soon as you receive a “notice of intent”, so that they may review the specifics of the lien and put together to best case to ensure you are compensated for the damage inflicted on you and your property by a negligent driver.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Attorney R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into medical liens.