I agreed in a court to a settlement in a dog biting case. However my lawyer is now choosing to go with their homeowner insurance which was not included in the agreement that is on the record made in front of a judge. I signed a release for monthly payments, now I am being told to come into the office and sign a new release agreeing to homeowner insurance to pay, now I am being told that I have to pay back Medicaid and that my lawyer has to put a portion of my settlement money in escrow. I contacted my insurance and they stated that I owe them nothing. By the way this all occurred in June 2013 and just was settled in may 2015 in court but I never received a bill from Medicaid. My lawyer told me that this was a statute and I had to put some money in escrow for Medicaid is this true?
Medicaid has a statutory lien in most jurisdictions even if they did not put you or counsel on notice this will have to be resolved.
Medicare and Medicaid have super liens which means that they must be paid out of the settlement. Your lawyer will notify them and they will advise if they are asserting a lien. The lien will be reduced by a pro rata share of attorney's fees. The money must be held in escrow.
If the dog owner's homeowners insurance is paying the settlement, then this is a good thing since it is much easier to get money from an insurance company then an individual. You should direct any questions about this to your lawyer.
This answer is being given for general informational purposes only and is not protected by the attorney-client privilege since this is a public forum. The information provided does not create an attorney-client relationship. No communications with me on this forum shall be construed as arising out of an attorney-client relationship. If a client needs specific legal advice or opinions, he or she should retain counsel for advice or to undertake representation.
The lawyer is doing the right thing by withholding money for Medicaid. If he failed to contact Medicaid and get the total lien amount, he could be sued and possibly even get in trouble with the attorney grievance commission. It can take a long time for Medicaid to respond, but you don't have a choice.
You have mentioned Medicare as well as Medicaid in your posting. Both are federally funded programs and both have statutes which require the repayment of moneys advanced by Medicaid or Medicare for treatment of injuries received in an incident which leads to your recovering a judgment or settlement against the tortfeasor. Your attorney is absolutely correct. You, your attorney and any insurance company making a payment to you are all on the hook for satisfying the statutory federal liens. Speak with your attorney. If this is a Medicare lien, expect it to take a considerable amount of time to resolve, as they tend to be very slow in their responses. Your attorney will be able to get certain setoffs against the lien for you.
Legal Disclaimer: If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
Yes, this is not only normal, it is the law. Neither the homeowners insurer not the lawyer can release any money to you unless they arrange to satisfy Medicare/Medicaid's right to be reimbursed for benefits paid in treatment of your injuries arising out of this case.
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