After 25% of a personal injury settlement is paid to satisfy a medical lien in WA state, is the outstanding balance still owed?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Seattle, WA

In the state of Washington, in a personal injury case, when a lien has been filed with the state, the attorney is only required to pay a medical lien up to 25% of the settlement. Is the patient is still responsible for 100% of the fees. I understand this is an area where attorneys and doctors often negotiate, but does it cite anywhere in case law or in RCW 60.44.010 that the doctor is not allowed to collect on the balance owed after the lien has been satisfied? And this is assuming the patient has signed a financial agreement to pay for services, and no health insurance of 1st party auto coverage is available.

See:
RCW 60.44.010

Liens authorized.

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Scott W Edwards

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes. After a lien has been satisfied, the health care provider can still seek to recover monies owed directly from his or her patient. Most often, attorneys will seek to negotiate a settlement with the provider to prevent this from happening, other times, when the amounts at issue are large, a bankruptcy is the best option. You should discuss this issue with your attorney and or seek independent counsel from a bankruptcy attorney if that is appropriate.

    Good luck!

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. DISCLAIMER: This information is for general... more
  2. David A. Kulisch

    Contributor Level 11

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Scott and Robert have provided excellent answers here. They are correct about how RCW 60.44.010 operates in a settlement situation. Typically, attorneys will try to get the provider to negotiate the lien amount once a settlement is contemplated. If the provider won't do that, bankruptcy may be your only option or negotiating a resolution directly with the provider's office. Good luck.

    1 - If you and I do not have a written and signed Fee Agreement for attorney services, then you are not my client... more
  3. Crystal Grace Rutherford

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the patient signed an agreement to pay for those services, then anything else would be a breach of the contract which entitled the health care provider to go after the patient. Based that that breach, the doctor can seek a judgment against the patient which would then harm the patient's credit. It is better to come to some sort of arrangement with the doctor's office, rather than be in breach. Nonetheless, the clinic may not want to negotiate based on the written agreement, but it never hurts to ask to see if there is balance owing can be reduced.

  4. Robert Bruce Kopelson

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally a lien is addl security for a debt. Your financial agreement is a contract. If it said you only owe if you collect enough from your case, no problem. Usually they say that you owe the money, but the doctor has agreed to wait for payment. While the lien provides a maximum to come from the settlement, it doesnt mean the doctor loses the balance. Ask you atty to try to negotiate a reduction or payment plan. Consider speaking to a BK atty if your financial/debt situation is bad. Talk to your current atty, as he should be able to explain your obligation to the creditor and the lien issues.

  5. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Best bet is to have your lawyer negotiate the bills down.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  6. Timothy Leo Bowden

    Contributor Level 14

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . what the amount settled for depends on several factors. these are handled by your attorney. if you dont have one, you may need to retain one to assist. many times, if the bills and injuries are especially high, the attorney is important to net you compensation by getting waivers, etc.

  7. Evan Matthew Oshan

    Contributor Level 11

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes I agree, but it is always a good idea to have your attorney attempt to negotiate the bills down. Sometime you can get the bills down below the 25%.

    (206) 335-3880. We retain experts and begin contingency fees at 29%. However, communication through Avvo does... more

Related Topics

Personal injury

If you suffer a personal injury as the result of the actions or negligence of another, you may seek financial compensation for physical or emotional damages.

Personal injury settlement

Personal injury settlements are agreements made between the two parties of an injury lawsuit. They outline the compensation that an injured party receives.

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