Many people who file injury claims have outstanding debts. Others incur accident-related debts that they must pay when they receive their compensation. In personal injury law, this type of debt is known as a lien. If a lien is valid, you may see it deducted from your payout before you receive your share of the compensation for your injuries and losses. Knowing what types of liens you may encounter can help you understand their importance in relation to your claim.
One of the most common reasons an individual may have a lien on their settlement is that they owe money to a government body. For example, if you have outstanding student loan payments, the Department of Education may place a lien on your income, including any personal injury settlements. Likewise, the Internal Revenue Service may place a lien on your payout if you owe them money from previous tax years.
Sticking to your schedule for student loan payments or back taxes can shield your settlement from government liens. If you know that you have defaulted on these payments, disclosing the situation to your lawyer can enable them to take steps toward protecting your settlement.
When someone without health insurance suffers injuries in an accident, the healthcare facility that treats them may place a lien on their settlement. This often occurs when the injured party signs a letter of protection, which enables the patient to receive medical attention under the condition that they will pay for their treatment once they receive the payout from their claim.
However, doctors do not automatically agree to sign a letter of protection. Many physicians negotiate letters of protection only with attorneys they can trust to uphold them. The lawyers at [firm-name] have a successful track record at negotiating medical liens with healthcare providers and insurers.
If you have outstanding debt, such as a mortgage or a balance on your credit card account, your settlement will not necessarily be subject to a lien. However, if you are delinquent on your payments, your creditors or their collections agents may place a lien on the money you receive in your payout. Such situations can drastically reduce the compensation you may have expected to see at the end of your claim.
Speaking to an experienced attorney can inform you of options to protect your settlement from creditor liens if you have delinquent accounts. For example, they may be able to provide advice on how to negotiate a payment plan to bring your accounts up to date if you cannot pay them off in full immediately. Such arrangements can convince creditors to agree not to place a lien on your settlement.
Sometimes, you may incur debts due to the accident and your claim. These debts can lead to liens, such as:
- Liens from a previous attorney if you changed counsel partway through your claim
- Liens from expert witnesses if you require their expertise during a personal injury trial
- Liens from car mechanics if your vehicle has undergone repairs before you receive compensation
The attorneys at Crantford Meehan will inform you about any liens on your settlement so you can know what to expect.
Can I Negotiate a Lien?
Sometimes, a party that places a lien on your settlement may be willing to negotiate. Yet negotiating a lien can be a complicated matter that requires significant legal knowledge and experience. Your attorney will consider your circumstances and determine how best to proceed.
For example, negotiating a healthcare lien before you receive treatment is standard practice. The attorneys at Crantford Meehan have experience negotiating healthcare costs with doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies.
Speak to an Experienced South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
Many people feel embarrassed about disclosing debts. Others may believe their delinquent accounts have nothing to do with the compensation they seek. However, keeping information about outstanding debts to yourself can cost you a significant proportion of your payout. Informing your lawyer about your debts can give them the information they need to protect your compensation.
The Charleston personal injury attorneys of Crantford Meehan have the knowledge and experience to help you negotiate or eliminate liens on your personal injury settlement. Our compassionate lawyers dedicate themselves to securing the full compensation you deserve for your losses, and we will do everything we can to make that happen. Furthermore, we don’t charge any upfront fees. We will only receive payment when you do.
Call us today at [phone-number linked=true] or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.