Certain medical providers are permitted under state law to assert liens on amounts paid on personal injury claims. A lien is a legal claim for reimbursement, which in the context of a medical lien on a personal injury matter, is a claim for reimbursement of medical bills. The medical bills at issue in a lien should only be those incurred in connection with the treatment of an injury you sustained as a result of the accident. Subrogation is the process of seeking reimbursement for the lien amounts.
It is important to note that, regardless of whether there is a lien or not, your medical providers may still seek to enforce and collect of any debts you owe them after a lawsuit is settled. However, a lien provides additional rights and priority in payment to medical providers who hold a lien because liens must be satisfied when the claim is settled.
Medical provider liens are only legally enforceable if they comply with applicable state law. The Kansas hospital lien statute details the Kansas requirements (see K.S.A. § 65-406) for hospital liens in Kansas. The Missouri medical lien statute details the Missouri lien requirements for medical providers in Missouri (see Mo. Rev. Stat. 430.225 et. seq.) These requirements are briefly summarized below.
Kansas Hospital Lien Statute
In Kansas, only hospitals or health clinics can assert a lien on a personal injury claim. Kansas law sets out a specific procedure and conditions that hospitals and clinics must follow before the lien is enforceable. For example, Kansas law requires the eligible lienholder to send notice of the lien. The notice must include the amount of all of the lien, the name of the injured person, the date of the accident and the name and location of the hospital. Kansas law requires this notice to be filed in Kansas district court where the hospital or clinic is located and sent to the injured person by certified mail.
Missouri Medical Provider Lien Statute
In Missouri, a lien on a personal injury claim can be asserted by a hospital or clinic as well as a licensed physician or surgeon, chiropractor, podiatrist, physical therapist, dentist or optometrist. Missouri law also requires an eligible lienholder to provide written notice of a lien. The notice must include the name of the injured, date of the incident, and names of those alleged to be responsible for the accident. This notice must be sent by certified mail to all parties responsible for reimbursement, which may include insurance companies, the injured person, or the person who caused the accident.
In addition to medical provider liens, there are other types of liens that can affect your recovery and may apply to your case. Such liens include those asserted by Medicare, Medicaid, a federal law called ERISA (certain employer-sponsored health insurance plans), and others. Liens can become quite complicated, and an experienced personal injury attorney can often negotiate and even reduce the lien amounts.
As a result, if you have a personal injury claim that involves a lien, it would likely be beneficial to you to seek legal advice on how to proceed. Still have questions about your injury claim in Missouri or Kansas? For more information, please download a free copy of my book, Crash Course, which includes the 9 mistakes that can wreck your injury claim.
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