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What Lawyers Mean When They Talk About Liens


If you’ve been in a car wreck, then you may already be dealing with liens. You might just not know it yet. This is because a lien on a personal injury case is somewhat of a mystery to most people – even those who are already dealing with the fallout of a personal injury. Experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorneys know this problem all too well and want their clients to be informed and understand their rights. So, here is what lawyers mean when they talk about personal injury liens.

What is a lien? 

A lien is a legal right to reimbursement or payment. In the context of a personal injury case in New Hampshire, it generally means a medical provider has performed a service and wishes to be paid. A medical service provider may send a letter to the injured party and their attorney, asserting a legal right to be paid from the proceeds of the lawsuit or insurance claim. But it’s not just healthcare providers. Other entities can assert a lien too.

Who asserts liens in personal injury cases? 

Beyond doctors and hospitals, there are lots of other entities that can assert liens. Here are just a few examples:

  • State child support enforcement agencies seeking repayment of back child support
  • Workers’ compensation insurance carriers seeking to be reimbursed funds paid to or on behalf of an injured worker
  • TriCare
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Private health insurance plans
  • Medical payments insurance through your own insurance company
  • Fees to prior attorneys

What happens when someone files a lien? 

First, upon receiving a lien, you and your attorney will acknowledge it and determine if it is valid. If so, then this should be taken into consideration when negotiating any possible settlement with an insurance company or defendant. A lien should not worry you, because as long as you are aware of it, you can accurately determine how much money you will recover from a potential settlement offer. Likewise, sometimes lien holders reduce their lien amounts.

How to reduce a lien? 

Medical providers and large third-party collection companies that collect liens for insurance carriers and healthcare entities want to be paid. To ensure prompt payment and a guarantee of payment, they will often agree to reduce their charges and liens in order for the victim to agree to settle. This gets the lien holder paid faster, the client receive money sooner, and the case can be resolved.

Because most lien holders prefer certainty of payment, they will generally work with an experienced personal injury lawyer to make sure that they receive a fair amount for their trouble, while incentivizing the victim to resolve the case early. This isn’t an additional payment to the lawyer; it is the lienholder reducing their lien to cover their share of the attorney’s fees the injured person is obligated to pay.

At the Law Office of Manning Zimmerman & Oliveira PLLC, our dedicated Manchester car accident attorneys are here to help. We have over 50 years of experience helping people deal with the effects of a serious personal injury, auto accident, slip and fall or other type of injury claim. For help with your injury matter, call us or visit online today.

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