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Liens and Subrogation

Liens & Subrogation in Durham

Providing You with Options After a Car Accident

Seeking compensation for your North Carolina personal injury claim can be a tedious and complicated process. However, as you work toward a resolution of your North Carolina injury claim, you must be diligent and determine any liens or subrogation interests that may be attached to your personal injury settlement or judgment. While you may not be certain what these legal terms mean, it is essential that you understand the process of subrogation, what liens may exist and be attached to your settlement, and how medical liens work.

Medical liens can range from demands for reimbursement to subrogation interests that attach directly to your personal injury case’s settlement or judgment. Generally speaking, a lien is a party’s right to receive reimbursement directly from your settlement for your injuries. While this right to demand payment from your settlement may feel unfair, there are many strategies for combating or mitigating medical liens to protect your settlement. Our Durham attorneys have helped countless clients after an accident and can provide you with your options.

Call Wallace Pierce Law if you’re ready to recover from your injuries at (919) 887-7892, or contact us online.

Types of Personal Injury Liens

After a car accident, there may a variety of organizations and programs that can have liens, depending on your unique situation.

Types of liens include:

What are Liens and Subrogation Rights and What Do They Attach To?

Seeking compensation for your personal injury claim can be a complicated process. Personal injury liens make this process even more complex. Liens allow a third party to possess interest or ownership in your personal or real property to satisfy a debt. When you are injured in an accident, healthcare providers, insurance companies, or government programs may be able to place liens on your settlement or judgment proceeds from your accident. Therefore, when you receive a settlement or judgment from your accident, a portion of the proceeds may go to one of the lien holders.

A third party may also be able to attach to your recovery proceeds through subrogation. When injured in an accident, medical treatment is often necessary. Generally, if no fault has yet been determined in your accident, your own insurance company will cover some or all of your medical costs. The insurance company may seek reimbursement for those costs if a third party is found to be at fault. Therefore, the insurance company will have a “subrogation interest or lien” in any recovery proceeds related to your accident. North Carolina, however, is unique, as the state strictly prohibits subrogation clauses in privately funded health insurance policies. Essentially, this means that certain insurance company policies will not likely be able to receive subrogation interests in your personal injury settlement or judgment.

Who Can Claim Liens?

Determining who has or may have a lien on your recovery proceeds can be difficult. In North Carolina, there are several types of common personal injury liens or subrogation interests.

Medical Provider/Physician Liens

One of the most common liens that can attach to your personal injury settlement is a lien for a medical provider, known as a physician lien. Any physician who provides medical services can claim a medical lien against your settlement proceeds. This includes but is not limited to physicians, dentists, nurses, and hospitals. In general, physician liens are the ability of a healthcare/medical provider to secure an interest on the proceeds received from a personal injury settlement or judgment and are governed by North Carolina General Statutes §44-49, §44-50, and §44-50.1.

Essentially, North Carolina law requires an accident victim or their personal injury lawyer to distribute a portion of the settlement to medical providers who have properly “perfected” their lien. However, if the lien is not properly “perfected,” repayment of the lien may not be required.

In order to perfect a lien, a medical provider must do three things:

  • Furnish all medical records to the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney, free of charge
  • Furnish all medical bills to the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney, free of charge
  • Give an affirmative written notice of the lien to either the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney

If a medical provider fails to comply with any of the three listed items, then the plaintiff’s attorney may not be required to pay the medical bills out of the proceeds of the personal injury settlement. If you need more information related to this topic, please read our article on Physicians Liens, where you can find detailed information pertaining to medical provider liens.

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Our top priority is to devise customized legal strategies that are tailored to the unique legal needs of our clients, no matter how simple or complicated their situations, might be.

  • $1,900,000 Wrongful Death

    The at-fault driver failed to reduce speed and collided with our client's vehicle. Our client passed away shortly after the collision.

  • $900,000 Wrongful Death

    Our client was thrown from his motorcycle and was pronounced deceased on the scene.

  • $122,000 Car Accident

    Vehicle made a left-hand turn, failing to yield the right of way.

  • $104,000 Serious Injuries

    Client was a passenger in a vehicle that was driving through an intersection when another vehicle ran a stop sign and t-boned the vehicle our client was in.

  • $104,000 Severe Injury

    We were able to not only receive policy limits for our client but were able to negotiate her medical bills and liens to ensure that she was able to keep a good portion of the settlement.

  • $102,000 Serious Injuries

    Elderly client was a passenger in a vehicle that was t-boned in an intersection where a driver failed to yield the right of way.