Do You Have to Pay Your Medical Bills From a Personal Injury Settlement?
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Do You Have to Pay Your Medical Bills From a Personal Injury Settlement?

In California, you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim when another person injures you due to their negligence. In many cases, the resulting settlement from these claims can be substantial. That does not mean you have free reign to spend your settlement money however you want. In most injury claims, insurance carriers and healthcare providers also have a vested interest in your settlement. If you have outstanding medical bills, these entities will have a lien on a portion of your settlement.  

Unfortunately, some hospitals and healthcare providers take an aggressive approach to these liens. When these entities overreach and pursue more than they are entitled to from your settlement, you are the one that suffers. A personal injury lawyer can help you ensure you keep the settlement money you are entitled to.  

What is a hospital lien? 

A hospital lien provides the hospital with the ability to recoup their expenses from your personal injury settlement. The lien is a legal document that can be used to prevent you from distributing the proceeds of your court settlement without first paying your hospital bills. There are important technical requirements that the hospital must meet to enforce its lien. The failure to do so could render it useless. In general, you can count on the hospital to perfect their lien against you without issue.  

Overreaching health insurance providers 

When healthcare insurance companies contract with providers like hospitals, they negotiate special rates for their insured’s services. This means that insurance companies only pay a fraction of what a medical claim is worth. These prices are much lower than the cost of individual medical treatment that a regular person would pay.  

When you are injured in an accident, your medical needs can be substantial. If the other driver has liability insurance, their coverage might pay for most or all of your medical expenses. However, liability policies have maximum coverage limits. Once the limit is reached, the other driver’s carrier has no obligation to pay any additional amount on your claim. If your medical bills are high, you will be personally responsible for any amount that the insurance does not pay.  

These medical liens can do more than complicate your settlement; they can often siphon more of your settlement than the hospital would otherwise be entitled to. When the other driver’s insurance policy does not cover all of your bills, the hospital bills you for the full price instead of the negotiated insurance rate. This process is known as balance billing. While balance billing is barred in some cases involving state-regulated health insurance policies, it can still affect you after a car accident in other situations.  

How Ellis Injury Law can help 

One of the most important roles that personal injury lawyers can play is negotiating liens on behalf of their clients. Often, health insurance providers and other lienholders will be willing to negotiate a lower amount to satisfy their lien if it means they get paid right away. Hospitals know that litigation can drag on for years, and many are willing to accept less if it avoids that delay. 

At Ellis Injury Law, we know how to maximize your financial recovery and help you keep as much of your settlement as possible. This effort starts with negotiating a fair settlement and continues with taking care of your health care liens. We know how much your settlement will mean to you, and we will do everything in our power to get the money you deserve.  

If your hospital bills are mounting, let our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers help you resolve your medical bills and obtain financial compensation for your injuries. Call Ellis Injury Law right away to schedule a free consultation.  

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