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What Is a Lien on a Personal Injury Case?

What Is a Lien on a Personal Injury Case?

A lien is an abstract legal right to claim specific property to satisfy a debt. Your bank, for example, might have a purchase money lien on your car.  That means if you cannot pay your car payments, the bank has the right to sell your car. This will generate the money necessary to pay off the debt that the lien secures.

A medical lien on a personal injury settlement or verdict, by contrast, allows your healthcare provider to deduct money from your future personal injury recovery to satisfy your medical debts. You might be seeking a settlement for a car accident injury, for example.

A personal injury settlement or verdict lien is a specific lien as opposed to a general lien. Your healthcare provider can enforce the specific lien only against your personal injury settlement or verdict. They cannot enforce the lien against your house, for example. 

What’s Unique About a Lien on a Personal Injury Claim?

There are two important differences between a purchase money lien on an automobile and a medical lien on a personal injury claim:

  • While an automobile exists right now, your personal injury settlement or verdict doesn’t yet exist yet. In fact, it may never exist – you might never reach a settlement or verdict. Your healthcare provider is betting that your claim will impose enough liability on the responsible party to satisfy your debt.
  • At the time of the creation of a personal injury lien, you and your healthcare provider typically don’t even know for sure exactly how much medical debt you will end up accumulating. If you experience unexpected complications, your medical debt could be astronomical.
  • For these reasons, your healthcare provider is gambling by taking a medical lien on your speculative future personal injury recovery. Hospitals take this risk when it makes financial sense to do so.

Typical Components of Personal Injury Compensation

All your healthcare provider needs you to recover is enough money to pay your debt to them. As long as you establish liability against the responsible party, it’s a fairly good bet that you will win this much. After all, medical bills are only one component of a full personal injury claim. 

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be able to claim the following components of compensation in addition to medical expenses:

  • Lost earnings if you missed work because of your injuries.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, such as child care expenses while you were in the hospital or recovering at home.
  • Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. These damages alone often add up to far more than any compensation for medical expenses.
  • Punitive damages if you file a lawsuit, if the at-fault party’s behavior was outrageous, and if the court is generous to you. Most claimants do not receive punitive damages.
  • All of these components together could add up to far more than enough to pay your medical expenses. This is not certain, however. 

If you suffer an injury that is somebody else’s fault, a personal injury claim typically arises automatically and by operation of law. The actual enforcement of this claim (meaning the transfer of funds from the responsible party’s bank account to your bank account) is anything but automatic. It takes effort and legal knowledge to enforce your claim. In most cases, the assistance of a Florida personal injury lawyer is critical to making it all happen.

Your lawyer can help you obtain a medical lien and negotiate the amount. They can also prevent your healthcare provider from overcharging you for medical services in exchange for their willingness to take a lien on your medical debt. Don’t worry that you cannot afford a lawyer. Since personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee arrangement, you only pay if you win compensation through your claim.

Contact a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer from Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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