When someone is injured on another person’s or entity’s property, which is caused by a hazardous condition or defect on the property, the victim may have a case for premises liability. When bringing the lawsuit, the injured party will be entitled to damages including medical bills. Often medical bills are unpaid and accumulate over the course of the lawsuit. When an injury victim has unpaid medical bills, the medical provider will have a claim to part of the injury victim’s damages at the end of the case.
Liens are used in a premises liability case when there are multiple medical providers which must be compensated for the treatment that was received or is still occurring.
There are three types of liens, each with different levels of priority, known as statutory liens, contractual liens, or government liens. The type of lien and the level of compensation that each provider will receive will depend on how the treatment was paid for. For instance, there will be a difference in compensation based on whether the treatment was paid for by using group insurance, out-of-pocket expenses, or Medicaid/Medicare.
Based upon what the ultimate settlement or award of the case is, each lienholder will be paid a particular amount based upon their lien’s type, priority, and depending on whether it was negotiated. For example, if Medicare made payments on one’s behalf of $20,000, they would have what is called a super lien. A super lien takes top priority and Medicare will get a portion of the amount that ended up being recovered.
If the lien is not negotiated properly by your attorney, these medical providers or Medicare are either listed names within a settlement check and would need to co-sign the check in order to deposit it or they are issued an entirely separate settlement check which deducts the portion that the injured party was expecting to receive. Similarly, if any other medical providers or insurance companies incurred unpaid expenses or are out-of-pocket, they too would be compensated appropriately based upon the amount that was recovered. It is important to have an attorney who knows how to and understands the nuances of negotiating liens depending on the lien type, priority, and number of liens.
Negotiating liens is important because in some instances, the total amount of all combined liens can be greater than the amount of money being offered or awarded at trial. Fortunately, the Illinois Services Lien Act prevents lienholders from taking every part of a settlement offer. The Illinois Services Lien Act breaks down the percentages each healthcare professional or provider may take, and the Act also provides that no more than 40% of the settlement or award can be recovered by medical providers. This is broken down whereby up to 20% of the settlement may be recoverable by healthcare professionals and 20% to health care providers totaling 40%. For example, if $50,000 was recovered in total, the lien holders can only recover a total of $20,000.
The biggest problem injured parties and attorney’s face is when multiple lienholders claim more than what is being offered to them. You see this most frequently when lienholders are asked to take huge reductions to their bills and they don’t want to do so. In these cases, if the lienholders are unwilling to take bill reductions according to the law to, we have to file a petition to adjudicate liens whereby we request a Judge to say how much money each lienholder gets and how much money the plaintiff gets. Ultimately, having a seasoned attorney from Brian J. McManus & Associates, Ltd. On your side to negotiate down liens according to the law and who can file a petition to adjudicate liens if necessary in order to allow the injured party to take home as much money as possible.