What is the hottest issue in personal injury?
It is liens.
The hottest topic is not a new theory of recovery or increased damages. It is saving the client’s settlement from a whole host of lienholders. Liens can reduce significantly a client’s net recovery after case expenses and the attorney’s fee.
Both government entities and private insurers see personal injury recoveries as a new source of revenue. They have attacked injured clients’ net recoveries to recoup more and more of their expenditures for medical bills, lost income, and other items unrelated to the case, such as unpaid parking tickets. These lienholders seek not only past expenditures but an allowance for future expenditures! This means that a client takes home less money.
Here are some examples of liens:
- Health insurance payments;
- Public Assistance;
- Workers’ Compensation;
- Unpaid parking tickets;and
- Unpaid child support.
Therefore, lienholders will be seeking a piece of the settlement.
We always endeavor to negotiate and reduce liens. However, some lienholders do not negotiate their liens, such as Medicare.
Unfortunately, getting the client’s settlement is not enough. We not only have to get the client money, but we have to make sure that the client gets as much of it as possible.
If you have a lien in your case, discuss it with your attorney.
Mark E. Seitelman, 11/17/10, www.seitelman.com.