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Does having insurance affect my settlement amount in a medical malpractice case?

February 5, 2017

Yes, your settlement amount may be affected if insurance covers all or part of your medical expenses. Insurance companies and health care providers can issue a lien against your settlement proceeds. This can lower the amount you receive in a settlement.

If an entity files a lien against your case, that entity has demanded reimbursement out of your settlement for the money it spent covering expenses after an injury.

What is a Medical Lien?

A medical lien is a demand for repayment that can be placed against the compensatory outcome of your malpractice case. This means that the hospital that paid for your medical expenses can demand those costs be reimbursed out of the amount you receive from your settlement.

Health care providers typically withhold from billing patients who are pursuing personal injury claims. They do this under the condition that the injured party will pay the claim with her settlement amount.

Liens can take several forms:

  • Liens can be contained within a health insurance policy. Many health care providers ask uninsured patients to sign a lien agreement upon treatment
  • Liens can be filed against a patient following a personal injury or medical malpractice claim

How Will a Lien Affect My Settlement?

The plaintiff has an obligation to satisfy the lien by paying it out of their settlement. Insurance companies often seek reimbursement for medical costs directly from the settlement. This is called subrogate interest.

The amount taken out of the settlement is dependent upon:

  • The nature of the costs fronted by an insurance company or healthcare provider
  • The nature of the lien

In the state of Indiana, liens cannot be filed against someone who is receiving Medicare or Medicaid benefits.

Many liens are negotiable, and even disputable. Hospitals often agree to accept less than the full lean amount, waiving the balance owed. Talk to your personal injury lawyer to see what’s best for your case.

Questions About Your Settlement Amount?

The experienced Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at WKW can help you get the most out of your settlement. Call 317.920.6400 today for a free, no-obligation consultation, or fill out our contact form.

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