Doctor and Hospital Liens
Doctor & Hospital Liens
When an auto accident claim resolves, there are often outstanding medical bills—called liens—that need to be paid. These doctor and hospital liens can dramatically affect how much money gets taken out of your settlement. At Henson Fuerst, we’re here to help you understand how your settlement funds are being distributed, so you have the information you need to take control of your finances after your accident.
In a personal injury case, it’s common for liens to be held by medical providers that provided you treatment or services, such as:
- EMS ambulance services,
- radiology and x-ray/MRI clinics,
- and hospitals.
The North Carolina auto accident lawyers at Henson Fuerst will protect your best interests and legal rights. We’ll do our best to ensure you walk away with the maximum settlement possible. Call us today at(919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form.
Valid vs. Non-Valid Liens
Under North Carolina General Statutes §44-49, §44-50, and §44-50.1, medical providers are allowed to recoup payment for services out of your settlement.
North Carolina law says that if a medical provider gives your lawyer copies of your medical records and bills free-of-charge, then they will have what is called a “valid lien” on your case. A “valid lien” means that those doctors and hospitals are entitled to recoup up to one-third of your settlement dollars to cover the unpaid medical bills.
Some medical providers will not provide your lawyer with copies of your medical records without charging. In that case, the medical provider will have a “non-valid lien,” which means that they don’t have a right to force payment of your bills out of the settlement. That doesn’t mean that they give up the right to be paid—you still have to pay their bills. It means that they can’t legally force you and your lawyer to pay the bill out of the settlement.
In most cases, our North Carolina auto accident attorneys encourage clients to pay both valid and non-valid liens before the case is resolved. This way, you owe less money or no money when your case is settled.