Types of Liens and How They May Affect Your Personal Injury Case

Person making calculations with a bill in their handA lien is also known as a debt that may be applied to any judgment or settlement you are awarded as part of a personal injury claim. Generally, valid liens may be deducted from your compensation before you ever see a check. There are times when liens may be necessary to proceed with a case, but they should be handled by someone who knows how to properly negotiate them.

Our Charleston personal injury lawyers have many years of combined experience helping injury victims recover compensation for their damages and are prepared to help answer any questions you may have about your case and any potential liens.

We offer a free consultation and do not charge you anything while we work on your case. We do not get paid unless you do, so there is no risk to you.

Types of Liens

These are some of the most common types of liens that may affect a personal injury case.

Government Liens

Some of the most common types of liens are held by governmental entities, such as the Department of Education or the Income Revenue Service (IRS).

Many people have student loans that must be repaid. Failure to do so may result in the government placing a lien on your income or potential assets, like an injury settlement. The IRS may also place a lien on your settlement if you owe back taxes.

If you want to protect your settlement from government liens, make sure you are not delinquent on any of your repayment plans. For example, make sure to keep up with monthly student loan payments or stick to the schedule for repaying back taxes.

If you defaulted on tax or student loan payments, it would be in your best interest to disclose this to your lawyer so he or she can determine how to protect your settlement.

Healthcare Liens

These liens are often applied when victims do not have insurance to pay for the costs of their medical treatment up front.

Some doctors may agree to see and treat injury victims who sign a letter of protection. These documents lay out an agreement between the patient and the doctor stating that the doctor agrees to hold off charging for their services while the patient agrees to pay for the treatment when the case is closed, and he or she recovers compensation.

However, letters of protection must be negotiated, as not every doctor will agree to one, and those who do usually only do so with attorneys they trust.

Our attorneys have handled countless injury claims in the past, and we are prepared to help negotiate medical liens with doctors, hospitals, insurers and other healthcare entities.

Creditor Liens

Whether you have credit cards, auto loans or a mortgage, debt is a normal part of life. However, having delinquent accounts is not. Sometimes, injury victims may be surprised to learn that their compensation from an accident may be reduced because they had an outstanding balance on a credit card that was sent to collections.

Fortunately, there may still be options for protecting your compensation from creditor liens. One of those options may be to pay down your debt. If the debts are too great, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan to help bring your accounts up to date so the creditors may not place a lien on your settlement.

It would be in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable attorney if you have questions about how to protect your settlement from creditor liens.

Other Types of Liens

Some other types of liens that may be placed on your compensation may include:

  • Attorney liens if you switched to a new attorney halfway through a claim
  • Expert witness liens if your case makes it to trial and testimony from an expert is required
  • Car repair liens if your vehicle gets repaired while you await compensation

Is a Lien Negotiable?

Some liens may be negotiated so you do not have to pay the full amount you owe on a debt. However, negotiating a lien may require experience and knowledge of the law, so it would be in your best interest to speak to a licensed attorney.

Healthcare liens are often negotiated because you may be able to negotiate before services are provided. For example, our attorneys may be able to negotiate down the bill for surgery with the insurance company or the doctor’s office.

Speak to a Licensed Attorney. Call Us Today

Getting injured by someone else’s negligence is stressful enough. That is why you should hire an attorney to manage the legal process on your behalf. Your lawyer may also be able to protect your settlement from invalid or unnecessarily high liens.

Our attorneys are prepared to help you through the legal process. There are no fees while we work on your case, and we only get paid if you do. There is no risk to you.