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Clearing Claims: Dealing with Lien Claims in PI Cases

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By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on August 05, 2013 11:55 AM

Personal injury cases can be a real headache (yes, pun intended). Between unpaid medical providers, liens and claims for reimbursement (let's just call them all lien claims, shall we?), dealing with lien claims may take up more time than negotiating the underlying settlement itself.

And then, of course, you have your client wondering why they have to pay anyone back at all. Here are some ways to make your life (a tiny bit) easier.

1. Assess

Before you do anything assess the situation. You need to become familiar with three things: (1) your ethical obligations dealing with client or third party funds; (2) the kinds of lien claims in question, such as statutory or contractual; and (3) the amount of the outstanding lien claims. Once you have the big picture assessed, you'll be able to set out on the best course of action.

2. Explain

Dealing with your client will be a lot smoother if they know up front what the situation is. Start by advising them that they are obligated to pay back liens and claims for reimbursement so they know that the money train has a few stops, before making its way to them.

3. Contact

From the get go, keep everyone involved in the loop. Reach out to lien claimants at the outset to introduce yourself, and to keep them, and your client, abreast of how the case is progressing. Most importantly, reach out to all the lien claimants before finalizing the underlying settlement, to let them know what their possible take away is.

For more useful tips and detailed information on how you, or your colleagues, can negotiate claims for reimbursement, please read our "7 Steps to Approaching Lien Claims in Personal Injury Cases" practice guide. Remember to share these tips with your colleagues, they may have something helpful for you in return.

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