When many people receive personal injury settlements, they are surprised to find that third parties have a claim to a portion of the compensation. Moreover, third parties will often claim a right to reimbursement even if they have no legal right to the reimbursement. Medical providers sometimes assert a personal injury lien on an injured victim’s personal injury settlement. If you have been injured in a Missouri car crash and you have been surprised by a medical lien on your settlement, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.
Understanding Hospital Liens
Hospitals and other medical facilities in Missouri and Kansas have a statutory right to assert personal injury liens on some settlements or judgments. Even though these financial agreements are often referred to as “hospital liens,” these agreements are granted to most medical professionals, whether they work in a hospital or not. If you are injured and seek medical treatment after a Missouri car accident, your providers may end up asserting a lien against your judgment or settlement.
Kansas and Missouri Statutes Compared
Both Missouri and Kansas have hospital lien statutes, but the process for asserting these liens is different in each state.
- For liens to be valid in Missouri, a healthcare provider must send a notice by certified mail to the insurer and the at-fault party, and the notice must contain certain details as provided by Missouri statute.
- In Kansas, however, a written notice containing certain details of the provider’s lien interest must be filed with the district court in the county in which the healthcare provider is located.
Many times, when a person does not have health insurance, that person has trouble finding a medical provider who will treat them. Some providers can help their patients obtain treatment if those providers are willing to provide such treatment on a lien. In other words, these doctors sometimes agree to treat a person so long as the doctor is reimbursed from a settlement through a medical lien, or the doctor might agree not to bill the patient or pursue a collection until a case is resolved.
Health Insurance Liens
Health insurance carriers often assert a right to reimbursement on a personal judgment or settlement. Both Kansas and Missouri, however, have laws prohibiting health care providers from taking money that is a part of a settlement. The reason these liens are prohibited is that by paying premiums or working for an employer, a person has already paid into the benefit of receiving healthcare.
Health Insurance Exceptions Under Federal Law
Both Kansas and Missouri have laws that prohibit healthcare insurers from asserting the right to subrogation on personal injury settlements. Federal law, however, preempts state law in several areas, which means that some types of health insurance are given reimbursement or lien rights with respect to personal injury settlements. Some of these exceptions include:
- Taxpayer-backed Medicare, which provides medical assistance for individuals who are 65 and older.
- Taxpayer-backed Medicaid, which provides health insurance for low-income individuals whose benefits have not been paid for through other means.
- Specific health benefits provided by an employer and not an insurance company, which are referred to as ERISA plans. But only truly self-funded ERISA Plans have reimbursement rights.
- Other federal benefits, such as Veteran’s Benefits or Tricare
Speak With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, the chances are good that a third party will later attempt to assert a lien on your settlement. Liens can seem straightforward and soon turn into difficult cases. If you are worried that someone else will claim your personal injury settlement, contact House Law LLC today to schedule a free case evaluation.