As I am licensed in Florida and Vermont, I cannot offer you specific legal advice as to Arizona state law. However, you do not state the age of your son. Is he over 18 years old?
Generally a hospital lien against the insurance carrier does not eliminate the debt owed by your son for his medical care and treatment at the hospital.
Many states have specific hospital lien statutes, which vary from state to state and can impose various liabilities on different parties. Before your son makes a final decision on accepting a settlement, I would suggest that he contact a personal injury attorney in your state and review the situation with the attorney to determine whether or not the offer being made, given the hospital lien situation, is a fair and equitable one.
Unless you take further action, the insurance company will probably deduct the amount of the hospital lien from the settlement. However, you should consult with an experience personal injury attorney knowledgeable about lien law. It may be that the hospital lien is unenforceable. Almost all of these lien are subject to being compromised. It is important to deal with this issue before reaching a final settlement.
Arizona laws about liens in personal injury claims have become quite complicated in the past few years. Without more details it is very difficult to answer your question accurately.
That said, the most common lien claimed by hospitals in a case like this is against the person who caused the injuries, and it his (his insurance company’s) responsibility to pay it if it is enforceable. The insurance company will most like say that the lien must be paid as part of the settlement, or even include the hospital’s name on the check. But not all lien claims are valid and enforceable. They must meet several legal requirements, but the insurance company won’t take the time to determine if it does. And since payment of the lien will reduce the amount of money your son keeps, that is an important issue.
If the insurance company agrees to pay your son without satisfying the lien or requiring him to do so, the hospital can come back against the insurance company later. It may try to sue your son, but it would most likely not have a valid claim unless he agreed to pay the hospital and failed to do so. But even so, that creates a big headache for your son.
This is an area that really should be looked into by an experience injury lawyer in Arizona. First to advise you whether the proposed settlement is fair, and second what your obligations and rights are with respect to the claimed liens.
Law Office of Gil Shuga
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