When personal injury victims in Kentucky face enormous hospital bills they can ask doctors and hospital administrators to work on a “medical lien” basis. This means healthcare providers will wait to get paid until the victim reaches a personal injury settlement or judgment in court.
Medical Liens After Accidents in Kentucky
A frightening accident can leave victims with serious injuries and in desperate need of emergency room or trauma center care. Unfortunately, a single night spent in a hospital bed may not be enough to get patients back on their feet.
On the sometimes long road to recovery, victims are usually followed by a long paper trail of hospital invoices, doctor bills, and ambulance fees. Patients may not even be to blame for their accident, but still face paying enormous medical expenses themselves.
Getting at-fault parties to do the right thing and cover the medical bills of their victims may be possible, but those bills will usually come due long before an insurance settlement check arrives. Under such dire financial circumstances, victims can ask doctors and hospital administrators to put off bill due dates and file a medical lien instead.
How Medical Liens Work
Hospitals, the federal government, and health insurance companies can all file liens against your anticipated insurance settlement in order to get paid for outstanding bills. When you are out of work due to injury, you may not even be able to cover health insurance copays and deductibles. A medical lien may be the only option to avoid severe financial penalties for unpaid invoices.
Medical care providers and the entities that pay for medical treatment can agree to this arrangement or may initiate a medical lien when they fear they may not receive payment. This would involve a legal claim filed to demand repayment when your personal injury case is concluded.
If a “medical lien” is unwanted, your personal injury lawyer can work to remove such a claim or have the amounts sought by medical care companies reduced. The legal fine print covering medical liens in your health insurance plan can be complicated, but there are often ways to minimize how much of your settlement goes to paying medical liens.
When Medical Liens are Necessary in Kentucky Accidents
Medical providers can turn to medical liens in a number of circumstances. Health insurance may cover much of the recovery cost for the patient, but the injured victim may not currently have the money to pay their part of deductibles. In this case, a medical lien would usually be filed.
A personal injury victim may have no health insurance at all and may also be without medicare or “no-fault” insurance injury benefits. There may be other reasons a patient cannot pay for medical bills thus leaving a medical provider to wait on the patient to receive money in an accident settlement or judgment.
Not every physician, physical therapist, or specialist will accept the terms of a medical lien for their care. Your personal injury attorney will identify doctors who will wait on payment where injured victims are concerned. You will be directed to these offices to receive your medical treatment.
Pitfalls for Victims Under a Medical Lien
It’s a dangerous world, and people get hurt through no fault of their own every day. Few people can afford to cover the recovery bills involved without insurance help. That’s why medical liens are a common resolution in personal injury cases.
If you have the money for deductibles and fees, you may choose to let your health insurance pay the rest of your medical bills. You could expect reimbursement for deductibles and copays when your settlement check arrives.
You can decide to allow your healthcare providers to file medical liens to get paid, but there is some risk to you when bills get delayed this way. Your accident claim against an insurance company is not guaranteed to be successful. If your case doesn’t earn a settlement or you lose a lawsuit in court, you are still liable for your medical bills.
By paying your invoices with your health insurance beforehand, your treatment comes at a contracted and usually much lower rate negotiated by your health insurance provider. When doctors file a lien they often charge full price for their care. These enormous costs can fall to you if you don’t end up receiving what you thought you would for your accident.
Contact a Kentucky Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one are the victims of an accident anywhere in Kentucky, don’t hesitate to contact a legal expert to be informed of your rights and your options. No matter how clearcut your innocence in your accident is, insurance companies will still fight to rob you of compensation.
When you have no defense against their tactics, you can end up paying for your recovery and medical liens entirely on your own. Make sure you have an experienced legal expert in your corner, fighting to earn what’s fair for what you’ve been put through.
You have nothing to lose by talking over your case in a free case consultation session with the attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC. We listen to you and help you map out your best path to earning the most compensation to rebuild your life.