The short answer is yes.
Our clients often wonder why they have to pay back their own health insurance company from their settlement. We're talking about medical treatment and bills caused by the driver who hit them, after all! It's no wonder folks question this system. It is a complicated part of the law that affects settlements.
What is the "right to reimbursement?"
In personal injury law, a subrogation or lien interest is the right of a third party, like a health insurance company, to seek reimbursement from your settlement or judgment when another person, company, or party is at fault. Health insurance companies make payments to medical providers on your behalf so that you can receive the treatment that you need. In turn, they have the right to reimbursement of the funds paid out on your behalf because of the negligence of another.
As unfair as it might sound, it is the law. It is important to understand a little bit about how it works so you don't get surprised by a huge health insurance lien after you are injured in a wreck.
When a Subrogation or Lien Interest Comes into Play
Subrogation or lien interest comes into play whenever there is another party liable for your injuries. For example, when you have been in a wreck and another driver is at fault.
Let's say Todd is in a car wreck. Another driver runs a red light and hits him. Todd gets medical treatment, including being transported to the ER by an ambulance and getting physical therapy. Eventually, Todd's doctors tell him he needs surgery. During treatment, Todd's bills are being paid for by his health insurance. But if it's determined that his injuries are caused by the driver who ran the red light, the health insurance company has the right to seek reimbursement for the money spent on Todd's behalf. If there is a settlement, the health insurance company can seek reimbursement for medical expenses that were connected to the wreck. Todd will have to pay back the health insurance company for the total lien amount.
When They Go After More Than Their Fair Share
While your health insurance company or government program may have a right to a subrogation or lien interest, they sometimes try to get reimbursed for more than they are entitled to.
When this happens, you want an attorney who is experienced in dealing with car wrecks. You want someone who can help you through the process and make sure the insurance company is only reimbursed for what they are owed.
How the Button Law Firm Can Help
We know this can be frustrating. You are trying to heal and get better, and now that your case has settled, you just want to move on. Instead, you are given a huge medical lien that is taken our of your settlement. We see folks dealing with this every day. If you have questions about health insurance liens, car wrecks, or anything in between - please give us a call. Our team's goal is to inform people like you so that you can keep moving forward with life.