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Winning a personal injury claim is a fun part of practice. Gathering evidence, taking depositions, making arguments: those are the aspects of your job that you enjoy.
But your work isn’t finished when you win on the merits. Your client still has to deal with lien claims. Some attorneys may be satisfied with disbursing settlement funds to a client and instructing the client to pay the liens and debts from his personal injury case. That’s often not the best idea because attorneys have ethical and fiduciary obligations to repay a lien claimant.
If you're new to the wild world of liens, or just need to brush up, FindLaw can help: Our new "Guide to Negotiating Liens in Personal Injury Cases" can walk you through the steps of a personal injury lien. Best of all, you can view and download this PDF brochure for free on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
As you probably know, there are two types of lien claims: statutory (Medicare, Veterans Administration, hospital, Medicaid, workers compensation, or ERISA health insurance plans) and contractual (medical pay under auto insurance, health insurance, ERISA, individual medical providers such as doctors, x-ray service providers, ambulance, chiropractor, acupuncture, or prior attorney). The actual business of negotiating lien claims, includes reading the contract, narrowing the claim, and making the appropriate reductions.
Our mini guide offers a concise summary of FindLaw's in-depth articles about liens from the Practice Management section of FindLaw for Legal Professionals -- as well as relevant case law and the basics of lien reductions -- to help you think about how to approach the type and scope of lien claims in your case.
Whether you handle lien claims yourself, or outsource them to a third party, lien claims should be a consideration from the beginning of a case. If you want to learn more about negotiating lien claims, be sure to check out the new FindLaw mini guide.