Lien Issues for Injured People who Receive Government Benefits

Suffering a serious personal injury can be a physically, emotionally and financially devastating ordeal and the legal process necessary for receiving compensation can be frustratingly long. That is why many injured people resort to applying for government benefits to make ends meet while they wait for their cases to settle or otherwise be resolved. Unfortunately, government benefits may come with strings attached, especially once personal injury compensation comes through. 

There are several types of liens that may have to be settled before you can receive your personal injury proceeds. These can include those held by government programs like Medicare and Medicaid as well as private liens held by certain insurers. Consider the following: 

  • Injured workers who collect workers’ compensation while pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against a third party — like an equipment manufacturer or other non-employer — may have to pay back some of the benefits they received from the workers’ compensation program.
  • Individuals who were receiving Medicare or Medicaid at the time of an injury may have to reimburse those programs for the costs they incurred paying for any medical treatments necessitated by the accident.
  • Individuals who participate in certain ERISA employee health plans may have to reimburse their plans for amounts paid to treat accident-related injuries. 

Every case is different and not all situations may require repayment. Moreover, an experienced attorney can often negotiate with these lien holders to reduce the necessary payments. Make sure your North Carolina personal injury attorney is aware of any benefits you are receiving to allow him or her to be proactive with lienholders and help you obtain the best overall compensation.

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