Q What is a medical "lien" in a personal injury case?
It is typical in a personal injury case, whether it is a car accident, slip and fall, product liability claim or medical malpractice case, for the cost of the medical care to be high and often unavailable to injured victims; even those with medical insurance. Even if you have insurance, you may need care immediately from specialists who are not in your insurance company's network or your HMO may not be willing to provide access to those specialists. Attorneys who are experienced in handling personal injury cases are in a position to help their clients gain access to the best doctors and specialists, and if a case is meritoious, obtain the agreement from the doctor to provide medical care to the client in exchange for making sure that the doctor is paid when the case is resolved. This is done through a "lien" on the case.
Medical Liens Help Patients Receive The Care They Need, When They Need It
A lien is a contract between the client, the doctor or medical provider, and the lawyer promising to pay the provider out of the proceeds of the settlement. In that contract the medical providers agree to wait until the case is resolved before they are paid. It is important to note that payment to the provider is NOT contingent upon the success of the case. The doctor is owed his fee for medical services regardless of the outcome of the case. It does provide an incentive for the doctor to provide care in a case where the patient does not have insurance of money to pay medical bills as treatment is provided.
In the hands of an experienced personal injury attorney, who is in a position to accurately evaluate the facts of the case, the likelihood of success, and the potential value of the case, a medical lien is very likely to be paid out of the settlement or trial proceeds. Medical providers who are familiar with experienced personal injury attorneys are willing to take a "lien" on cases handled by those attorneys because of the reputation of the attorney for success and their integrity in not only consistently obtaining good results, but also of honoring those liens. The best attorneys have established their reputations for success with the best providers who are then willing to treat those attorney's clients when needed.
Liens can be arranged for with doctors and specialists of all kinds, surgical centers, and facilities that provide MRIs, CT scans, and testing of all types. With experienced attorneys, accident victims get the care they need from some of the best medical providers around. They get the treatment they need to recover from their injuries and get back to their lives. And the documentation from the treatment provided is used to prove the nature and extent of the injuries suffered, which is required in every personal injury case.