What Is a Hospital Lien on a Miami Personal Injury Case?
May 11, 2023 | Sagi Shaked | Personal Injury
An injury accident can hit you out of the blue, leaving you reeling physically, psychologically, and financially. The insidious aspect of a serious personal injury is that it increases your medical bills even as it prevents you from working to pay for them.
One way of paying unexpected medical bills is through a hospital lien on any future personal injury settlement or judgment. However, things can get tricky, legally speaking, as both state and county law are involved.
How Hospital Liens Work
A hospital lien is a right to first payment that your healthcare provider holds on any future personal injury settlement or judgment. The Miami-Dade hospital lien ordinance governs hospital liens arising in Miami hospitals.
Attachment and Perfection
Under state and local law, a hospital lien arises automatically as soon as you receive treatment. Your permission or cooperation is not required. To “perfect” the lien, your healthcare provider must file a written notice of the lien with the Miami government within 10 days after the hospital discharges you. If you receive Medicare or Medicaid payments, the government might file a lien notice.
You should negotiate the release of the lien as part of any personal injury settlement. This, of course, will involve a third party (your healthcare provider) in your settlement, thereby complicating the process. Accordingly, be careful how you draft your settlement agreement.
When a hospital lien is in place, you won’t receive any personal injury compensation until your healthcare provider first receives the full amount of the lien. In other words, a hospital lien takes payment priority over all compensation from your personal injury settlement.
Even if you are filing a claim for a catastrophic injury that left you with a permanent occupational disability, you must pay the hospital lien first – even if that leaves you no money. That is why it is important to know exactly how much the lien is worth; you will know the ultimate amount of the total compensation you will need.
How a Hospital Lien Can Help You
A hospital lien can work in your favor, especially if you have a strong personal injury claim but not enough money to pay your medical bills right away. A hospital lien assures your healthcare provider that they will eventually receive payment for the medical treatment that they provide you.
Although state law requires healthcare providers to provide you with necessary care regardless of your ability to pay, the assurance of payment still provides you with extra assurance that you will receive prompt, high-quality medical care when you need it.
Can You Negotiate the Amount of Your Hospital Lien?
Yes, it is possible to negotiate the amount of your hospital lien. The degree of your success depends largely on your negotiating skills or, if you have retained counsel, the negotiating skill of your lawyer. This is one of the main reasons why it is to your advantage to involve an experienced personal injury lawyer as early as possible in your personal injury claim process.
If You Have Health Insurance
If you have health insurance, your insurance adjuster will negotiate a discount on your medical bills with your healthcare provider. If your health insurance covers all your medical bills, a hospital lien against your personal injury proceeds might not be valid against you.
A Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You With Every Aspect of Your Claim
Hospital liens are just one aspect of a typical personal injury claim. If you believe you might have a sizable personal injury or wrongful death claim, schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
The good news is that if your lawyer is like most personal injury lawyers, you won’t have to pay a dime in legal fees unless you receive compensation. Under this arrangement, it is the quality of your claim, not the size of your wallet, that determines your access to legal services.