How Does a Lien Affect Your Personal Injury Case in Washington?

| Blog, Personal Injury

Most people do not want to hear that they have liens against them, especially if they anticipate receiving money as part of a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit. When you’re expecting your settlement money, you likely already have a laundry list of expenses that that money will go toward, and a lien could put some of those payments on hold. 

Liens are often the most perplexing and unpleasant part of a personal injury settlement. They are one of the many things you must keep track of when recovering damages after an accident. Many people are unaware of how a lien will affect their personal injury case. While learning more about them is helpful, it takes years of personal injury experience to know how to best address them. Consider speaking with an accomplished personal injury attorney in Washington about your case. 

What Is a Lien on a Personal Injury Case?

Liens are demands for payment that can be made against your personal injury claim. Essentially, they entitle certain parties to a portion of your settlement. In general, a court may place a lien on a party’s personal property to pay off a debt due to a person or entity. This debt typically arises following the completion of some type of work related to the property. 

In the context of a personal injury settlement, the portion of a settlement award that the lien holder is claiming a right to is the personal property the lien is made against. For example, an injured person may have a medical lien placed against their personal injury claim by whoever paid their medical expenses. Typically, liens develop in a personal injury case when you have an injury and lack the funds to cover necessary medical care.

How Can Liens Affect My Personal Injury Settlement?

In the case of personal injuries, liens may be filed by any entity that paid any bills for the injured victim. This third party must go through the legal system for their lien against a personal injury settlement to be recognized. 

The lien is effectively a deduction from the settlement amount you will receive. The most common lien deductions from a personal injury settlement come from health insurance providers, but the federal government, healthcare providers, and auto insurance companies may also file them.

Liens enable third parties to recover payment for their services, whether from the plaintiff, the responsible party, or their insurance company. Your attorney is legally obligated to honor these liens even if you don’t want them to be done so. You and your attorney may be held financially liable if they are not paid. Medicare liens that are not paid in full may also be subject to penalties and interest. If your insurance provider places a lien on your settlement, and you don’t honor it, they may refuse to cover your future debts. 

Is It Possible to Reduce Lien Deductions?

It is essential to negotiate and respect all duly filed and enforceable liens. Even though your lawyer must legally honor these liens, they can take action to reduce them for you. The possibility of reducing a lien placed on an injury settlement is never guaranteed. However, an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney could successfully negotiate a problematic settlement lien. 

A highly regarded personal injury attorney will take all reasonable steps to minimize lien negotiations since they know their complexity. Your attorney will work to get you as much of your personal injury settlement as possible, guided by their in-depth knowledge and extensive experience.

Liens catch many people off guard. They are unaware that entities like the state, the federal government, health insurance companies, and hospitals might submit a claim against their personal injury settlement under certain conditions. Lien negotiations can be difficult, annoying, and time-consuming. 

At Premier Law Group, our legal team will fight for the best outcome possible. We have the experience necessary to negotiate intricate liens and get a fair result in your settlement. We are a client-oriented firm dedicated to providing clients with the proper legal guidance. To learn more about your legal options for addressing liens, speak with us at (206) 880-7518 or fill out our contact form.