There are many ways as a medical provider to make sure the auto insurance company pays your bill. Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is let your patient’s attorney do the work and then take your payment at the end. To do that, you will need to have your patients sign medical liens.
A medical lien is an agreement between your medical company and your patient regarding how your bill will be paid. Your patient agrees that you will be entitled to payment out of any eventual auto insurance benefit, award, or settlement. You agree to hold off on collecting your fee until then.
Once your patients sign the medical liens and you provide the necessary medical treatment resulting from their auto accident, the next step is to give notice to your patients’ attorney. You will need to send a copy of the consensual medical lien agreement along with a copy of your medical bill to the attorney representing your patient against the auto insurance companies. When your patient’s attorney negotiates a settlement, he or she will be required to pay you before disbursing funds to providers without liens or to the patient directly.
This protects you against a patient who may be tempted to use your share of the auto insurance benefits to pay household bills or credit card balances that have built up as they waited to resolve their auto insurance claims. Because the money goes straight from the attorney to you, you have more assurances that you will be paid properly.
If for any reason, your patient’s attorney fails to disburse funds to you according to your lien, your medical provider attorney can file a motion with the court in your patient’s case to make sure it gets enforced. This may be easier and cost less money than litigating the entire case yourself.
There are two downsides to medical liens that doctors, hospitals, and treating professionals should be aware of:
- They don’t happen automatically. If you forget to have your client sign a medical lien, or don’t give the attorney notice of your claim, you will have to collect what is left after all the other claims have been settled.
- They don’t guarantee a dollar-for-dollar return. If your patient settles for less than the total of all the medical expenses and attorney fees in the case, your best claim will be for your fair proportion of the claim. That means you may not get everything you charge, but you will still get paid before the attendant care relatives and other non-lien holding treatment providers.
Medical liens help to ensure that you get paid for the hard work you do helping auto accident patients recover. If you need to create or enforce a medical lien on your patients, contact the medical provider attorneys at Christensen Law today.