What Is a Lien on a Personal Injury Case?

Unlike a college education or a new house, no one saves up money for a personal injury accident. As a result, it is not uncommon for you and other injured victims to need expensive medical care at a time when money is tight. A lien can enable you to pay for your medical treatment while you pursue compensation through a lawsuit.

A lien is simply a claim against some asset that is put up as collateral. For example, if a mechanic works on your car because your car suddenly breaks down, they can file a mechanic’s lien. This lien would entitle your mechanic to reclaim possession of your vehicle and sell it if you do not pay your bill.

Therefore, a personal injury lien is a lien placed by some person or entity to whom you owe money due to your personal injury accident. The most common type of lien against a personal injury award is a hospital lien. 

This lien is satisfied when you pay the debt in full or when the lienholder agrees to release the lien. Otherwise, the lien will be paid from the proceeds of your personal injury claim. Here is how this process works in Florida.

The Process for Obtaining and Enforcing Liens in Florida

Obtaining a lien on any resolution of your personal injury claim begins when you are admitted to the hospital to receive treatment. While this act of providing you with evaluation and care creates the lien, the lien must still be formally filed with the clerk of the county court. 

Deficiencies in the lien paperwork can lead to a finding that the lien is not valid or enforceable against your personal injury judgment. There may be other challenges that can be brought against a lien.

The amount of the lien that can be levied against your future compensation award must be reasonable for the services provided. For example, suppose that you slipped and fell. You were admitted to the emergency room and released after several hours without being hospitalized overnight.

In this case, the hospital would not be able to obtain or enforce a lien for tens of thousands of dollars unless it could justify that amount as being reasonable for the treatment you received.

Satisfying a Lien on Your Personal Injury Claim

When you resolve your personal injury case against the at-fault defendant, either by settling your case or winning at trial, monetary compensation is awarded to you. 

The lien operates to take as much of the recovery as is necessary to satisfy the amount that the healthcare provided upfront. This means that the money goes straight to the lienholder without ever reaching you first.

Liens Can Be Useful With Certain Precautions

Liens on your future personal injury award can allow a hospital to treat you for your injuries while waiting for payment later. The danger with liens is not knowing how much they are upfront and whether they are valid. 

It is, therefore, essential to consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer to discover whether any liens against your future compensation award exist and how much they are worth. How much compensation you pursue may depend on these findings.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm – Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

Contact a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.

Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 933-0015