Let’s say you have been injured in a car crash, and your Nashville auto accident attorney has negotiated a settlement on your behalf –but then to your surprise, you discover that a lien has been placed on your claim. What at first seemed like a healthy amount for your settlement might be diminished significantly by the amount of the lien. There are some things you can do to protect your settlement against liens, and working with an injury attorney can be beneficial to you in making sure that you get sufficient compensation even after any liens have been satisfied.
What is a lien?
The legal dictionary definition of a lien is “any official claim or charge against property or funds for payment of a debt or an amount owed for services rendered.” When you work with an attorney who represents your injury claim on a contingency fee basis, they essentially have a lien against your settlement, which will cover their fees. If you suffer serious injuries and your health insurer paid for your medical expenses related to the accident, if the settlement includes compensation for medical expenses, your health insurer expects to be reimbursed for their costs. A lien gives an entity the legal right to take your property if payment is not made.
Here are a few examples of different types of liens that could be placed against an injury settlement:
- Health insurance company
- Medical care provider
- Medicaid and Medicare
- Auto insurance company
- Pre-settlement loans
- Credit card debt
Negotiating a lien on your injury settlement
Some of these liens may be negotiable. For example, your attorney may be able to negotiate with your health insurance company for less than 100 percent of the medical expenses. Government liens, such as for Medicare and Medicaid, are not negotiable. These government liens are statutory and they take precedence above any other lien against your settlement. If you happen you have unpaid taxes, or are in arrears on payment of child support, the government may place a lien on your accident claim settlement for the funds that you owe.
Without the services of a lawyer, you could end up walking away with none of your settlement money simply because you are unfamiliar with the law and how these situations can be handled effectively. As experienced Nashville auto accident attorneys, we know how liens are to be prioritized, who we can negotiate with and who will demand to be reimbursed first and in full.
If you have been injured in a car wreck caused by the negligence of another, call the trusted Nashville auto accident lawyers who have a reputation for getting excellent results for their clients. At the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we fight for you. Please schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a member of our team in Nashville, Hendersonville or Knoxville by calling 615-425-2500 or filling out our contact form. Our Gladiators in Suits are ready to fight for you!