Basically I am wanting to know if I as the personal injury client can take that money and settle up with the ambulance company on my own time. Or, is the attorney absolutely required to turn this money over to a private ambulance company's private collection agency. What are your thoughts. The attorney said he and I never signed anything in that regard, but wants to make sure he doesn't get himself into any trouble.
If you nor your attorney has signed a lien, you can take your time paying it. The best thing to do is have your attorney negotiate it now and pay a reduced amount up front. I'm not sure why he doesn't understand the law unless he doesn't practice much personal injury. Either way, if it's in collections, your credit rating will be harmed.
Having recently finished litigation with one of the largest collection companies in the United States, I can assure you that you would be over your head trying to negotiate with them when you have an attorney that is willing to do it for you. Your attorney is not going to charge you any extra money for negotiating with the collectors. Many of us take pleasure in doing a great job for our clients and love to battle with these collectors. Do not do it yourself. Best of luck.
The money owed to the ambulance company is for the service that they provided and as a result, the provider can seek payment under contract theories (even though you did not sign a contract with them). A lien is a security interest that the provider has in order to effectuate payment. As a result, whether the lien is valid or unenforceable is unrelated to the obligation to pay the underlying debt owed to the healthcare provider. Therefore, it is important to understand that even if you could overcome the lien and have the money turned over to you, you would still have the obligation to pay the debt. The lien and the debt are two separate issues. I agree with the other posts that seeking a reduction and resolving the underlying debt is the best approach – especially where the ambulance bill was presented as part of the claim that resulted in the payment of a settlement. See our blog
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