Hospital And Medical Liens: What Should A Victim Do?

In a serious injury case the victim is usually overwhelmed with medical expenses, lost wages, terrible pain and suffering, and a total disruption in their personal, family and home life. If they are fortunate enough to have good counsel and they are fortunate enough to get a good settlement from the third party responsible for inflicting the injuries upon them, it will not be uncommon for such a victim to have to deal with a host of medical lien issues. The most common medical liens are Hospital liens whereby the hospital that provides the medical services obtains a lien on any settlement. If the victim does not have adequate health insurance or otherwise cannot pay the hospital bill, the bill will have to be paid out of the insurance proceeds. Sometimes if the party inflicting the injury has limited insurance coverage, the lien amount can swallow the entire settlement amount thus leaving the victim with nothing. Accordingly, if there is a hospital lien or other valid medical lien (doctors in Georgia can file medical liens for their bills as well) the victim in such a case should confer with experienced counsel to determine the best course of action.
In many cases where there are limited insurance benefits, counsel can work out a settlement with counsel for the hospital and the insurance carrier to work out some kind of pro-rata agreed split of the funds. If such agreements cannot be worked out and litigation ensues under Georgia law the hospital lien will typically take priority even over the victim’s personal injury pain and suffering claim. While this may be unjust, nonetheless, it typically the hospital lien takes priority over all other claims. Again, for these and other reasons it is vital that the victim of a personal injury serious injury case confer with experienced counsel to make sure that their rights are protected.

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