FAQs About A Lien Against A Workers' Comp Settlement

Posted on: 19 June 2016

If you settled your workers' compensation claim for a lump sum, you should receive payment after signing a release. However, if you have a lien on your settlement from a medical care provider, you have to settle it. If not, you could face serious consequences. If you have been notified there is a lien on your settlement, here is what you need to know. 

Is It Truly A Lien?

In personal injury cases, such as workers' compensation, a lien or claim for reimbursement can be used to collect funds that are owed from medical treatment. It is important that you understand the difference. Whether or not your settlement can be kept from you until the payment is made depends on if you are truly facing a lien or a claim.

A lien is an obligation that can land you in court. Depending on who holds the lien, you could even face jail. For instance, if the lien holder is Medicare or Medicaid, you are legally required to pay back any payments that were made towards your medical care. 

However, if you have received a claim for reimbursement, the provider has to go through the collections process to obtain payment. For instance, your health insurance company can file a civil lawsuit to try to force payment. 

Is The Amount Accurate?

If you did receive services from the medical care provider and have an outstanding bill, it is important that you verify the amount that is owed. Do not automatically take the provider's word. It is possible that there was a billing error that inflates the final bill. It is also possible that the insurance company was supposed to pay some or all of the bill and your responsibility is diminished. 

Ask for itemized copies of your medical bills. Review each procedure with your attorney. If you find discrepancies in the bill, contact the provider to dispute the bill. 

Can You Negotiate?

Whether or not negotiation is an option depends on several factors. One of the most important is if the lien is being held by a government agency or not. For instance, Medicare and Medicaid will not negotiate the amount that is owed. Once billing is verified, whatever the final total is, you must pay it. 

By contrast, if your health insurance company has a claim, your attorney might be able to negotiate. Review your provider's insurance to determine if mediation is possible. If not, your attorney can help you explore your options for dealing with the lien.

For more information on workers' compensation claims, contact an attorney like those at McMullen & Ochs PLLC.