Imagine you have been involved in an accident and your injuries are so severe you require hospitalization. You say to yourself, “I have health insurance, everything will all be okay. I only have to worry about what my insurance plan does not cover.”
Medical bills can be substantial, and a hospital lien could be filed against you or the damages you might recover from a personal injury civil action. This happens more than you think, and the North Carolina lien law is complicated. If you have been injured, hospitalized, and a lien placed against you or your potential settlement, contact the Charlotte personal injury attorneys of Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C.
What does lien mean?
Instead of filing a claim with your insurance policy, the hospital might put a lien against you or against potential monies from a personal injury case. When a healthcare provider files a lien against you or your settlement from a personal injury case, it can drastically reduce your compensation from any personal injury claim.
Under North Carolina law, these liens are meant to provide debt security and can last until the underlying debt is satisfied. Often these liens put the victim of an accident in even more unneeded stress.
A lien can be filed against any plaintiff who owes money for medical bills, including:
- Another person,
- A corporation
- A state entity
- A municipal corporation
- A county
These liens can be filed to cover bills accrued for any number of medical services, including:
- Ambulance services
- Hospital services and stays
- Nurse services
- Physician services
- Dental services
- Drugs or medication
- Medical supplies
Why a lien?
There are usually clear reasons why a hospital will file a lien on you or your case. Among these instances are:
- A hospital decides not to file with your health insurance company, and instead, expects payment from a personal injury verdict or settlement.
- An injured person requires medical care but does not have insurance.
- An injured person requires medical care, but their insurance company only pays a portion of the bill, and the healthcare provider has not been paid the remaining amount.
Simply put, in some cases when hospitals file a lien on a claimant’s personal injury case, even when the claimant has valid insurance, it is because hospitals are looking for the full retail cost of a hospital bill to be paid by a plaintiff’s settlement, rather than the lesser amount that insurance companies regularly pay.
Lien on us
If a hospital lien is bearing down on you, leaving you wondering why the hospital did not bill your insurance company for payment, you need an experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyer to protect your rights.
Depending on the details of your case, you may be able to reduce the amount of the lien, or even get the lien determined to be invalid. Either way, we are here to help. Contact the Charlotte personal injury lawyers of Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C. by clicking here or calling 704.850.6322 for a free consultation.