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August 31 - Newsblog #1
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner and Wife Sue over Police Shooting
September 7 - Newsblog #2
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner’s Possession of Handgun Legal Under 2nd Amendment
September 14 - Newsblog #3
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: if a Government or Government Agency is at Fault, You Can Sue
September 21 - Newsblog #4
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Lawsuit Against Police Department Invokes the Civil Rights Act
September 28 - Newsblog #5
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: a Clear Line from the Action – or Inaction – to the Injury
October 12 - Newsblog #6
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Insensitivity Turns Traffic Stop into a Travesty
October 19 - Newsblog #7
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Who Abuse Power Must Be Held Accountable, Law Professor States
October 26 - Newsblog #8
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Holding Overly Aggressive Police Accountable
November 2 - Newsblog #9
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Brown Vs. Impd Case About Much More Than Punishment or Money
November 9 - Newsblog #10
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Improper Medical Diagnosis and Care Resulted in Loss of an Eye
November 16 - Newsblog #11
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Front End and a Back End
November 30 - Newsblog #12
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Truths About Medical Malpractice
December 7 - Newsblog #13
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Yes, You Can Sue City Hall
December 14 - Newsblog #14
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Slip and Fall Changes Two Lives Forever
December 28 - Newsblog #15
In the News: Ramey & Hailey Year in Review
January 4 - Newsblog #16
In the News: Teen’s Sexual Abuse Case Calls Attention to the Problem
January 11 - Newsblog #17
In the News: Parents of Survivor Sue Parents of Shooter
January 18 - Newsblog #18
In the News: Erin Brockovich Teams Up with Indiana Moms
January 25 - Newsblog #19
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Case Settled in Favor of Catastrophic Slip and Fall Injury Victim
January 31 - Newsblog #20
In the News: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rehab Facility
February 8 - Newsblog #21
In the News: Nurse Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case
February 15 - Newsblog #22
In the News: Running the Clock on Indiana Medical Malpractice
February 22 - Newsblog #23
In the News: to Repeal or Not to Repeal – Indiana Legislators Rule “not”
March 1 - Newsblog #24
In the News: Helping Physicians Keep Helping
March 8 - Newsblog #25
In the News: Parents of Brain-damaged Infant Sue Hospital
March 15 - Newsblog #26
In the News: Owner of Gun Wins Decision
March 22 - Newsblog #27
In the News: Indiana House Passes Long Term Care Protections Bill
April 5 - Newsblog #28
In the News: Slip-and-fall Victim Wins Right to Sue Dollar Tree
April 12 - Newsblog #29
In the News: Inspection Report Shows Vets Harmed at 52 Nursing Homes
April 19 - Newsblog #30
In the News: Sandwich Diversion Causes Fatal Two-semitrailer Crash
April 26 - Newsblog #31
In the News: Does Premises Liability Cover Goose Attacks?
May 10 - Newsblog #32
Two-week-old N.y. Verdict Offers Takeaways for Slip and Fall Victims
May 17 - Newsblog #33
In the News: Barrel Blast Triggers Wrongful Death Lawsuit
May 24 - Newsblog #34
In the News: when a Product Manufacturer is Not at Fault
May 31 - Newsblog #35
In the News – College Doc’s Sexual Abuse of Students Coming to Light
June 7 - Newsblog #36
In the News – One Week, Four Motorcycle Accidents
June 14 - Newsblog #37
List of Troubled Nursing Homes Released

Medical Malpractice Newsletter

Medical Liens and Filing Proper Notice

A person injured in an accident caused by the negligence or fault of another may eventually be able to recover damages from the person at fault. However, accident injuries usually require immediate treatment. If the injured party lacks medical insurance and the resources to pay for such treatment, a “medical lien” may provide a viable alternative.

Medical Liens

A medical lien basically reflects an agreement between the injured party and others, such as the health care providers, to defer payment until settlement with an insurance company or a court judgment. Upon completion of specified procedures (called “perfection”), this lien can become legally effective to require that the injured party keep the promise and pay the outstanding debt out of the proceeds of the settlement or lawsuit, often before the injured party receives such funds.

Without perfection, the health care provider may still pursue collection against the injured party, but may not be able to force payment from those particular proceeds, which could be spent by the injured party. Statutory procedures and requirements must generally be met in order to perfect the lien. These requirements and procedures are usually created and regulated by state law and include proper “perfection” and “notice” procedures, which can vary significantly. A local attorney may thus be advisable when creating, evaluating, and handling medical liens. An attorney may also be able to negotiate a reduction in the medical expenses subject to the lien.

Perfecting by Written Notice

A common way of perfecting a medical lien in some jurisdictions is sending a written notice of the debt to all parties, their attorneys, and/or the insurance company for the injuring party, which will pay the settlement or judgment. Who must receive notice and what information the notice must contain varies from state to state. Generally, however, notices must include some or all of the following information:

  • The amount of the debt and a description of the services received (some states require that the charges be “reasonable and necessary”; other states limit charges to a percentage of the recovery).
  • Acknowledgment of the debt and responsibility for payment by the injured party.
  • Agreement by the injured party that the debt can be paid from an insurance settlement or lawsuit judgment proceeds.
  • Agreement that the injured party’s attorney be instructed to pay the creditor out of such proceeds.

Filing a Notice of Lien

In some states, the medical lien must be filed with a designated public agency, such as a county clerk. This can be in addition to or as an alternative to giving the above-described notice. Where filing is required, there may be specifications as to the size of the paper, margins, whether the signatures must be notarized, etc.

Requirements specifying the content of the filed lien also vary from state to state, but generally include:

  • The name and address of the injured party.
  • The name and address of the debtor (the person or entity who provided the services).
  • Name and address of the insurance company (of the person causing the injury).
  • The person or entity liable for the debt.
  • An itemized statement of the amount of the debt.

Enforceability of Lien in Bankruptcy

Proper perfection determines the enforceability of the medical lien. In two cases, U.S. Bankruptcy Courts have held that if proper filing and notice requirements have not been satisfied and the injured party files for bankruptcy, the lien holder is not entitled to enforce payment of the debt directly from the proceeds of the lawsuit. The medical lien became an ordinary debt payable from the assets of the bankruptcy estate. The result in both cases was that the lien holder (health care provider) was only able to recover a small portion of the debt.

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