her fathers insurance has a lien against any money awarded. This was never discussed during the negotiations for the settlement. It was after the award the attorney told my daughter this. The lien is for more than the award. Should the attorney have known about this before even trying to settle the case? I'm just not sure about this process.
Sounds like a medical lien. Your daughter should sit down with the lawyer and have him explain everything. It is normal for lawyers in this situation to try to negotiate liens down to lower amounts.
I am not your lawyer unless we enter into an engagement agreement in writing. This is general information that is given for legal education only. It is not legal advice, and it may not work for your specific situation. I strongly encourage you to consult with a local lawyer to get legal advice and help with your specific situation at your earliest convenience. I am licensed to practice law in Arizona.
A good lawyer would have explained the lien situation from the beginning. Live and learn.
Probably, but I have had experiences where the spouse whose aware of the potential reimbursement claim will not provide the notice letters or the policy to me. In such cases, I make the client sign that they know they are getting all of the money and are responsible for paying the reimbursement claim.
Medical insurance liens are common in personal injury cases. State law may protect a % of that amount, some or all of it, it varies from state to state. It's also common for the lawyer to negotiate down the amount of the lien. In a case involving a minor, there are times when the lien can be waived - again it varies in each state.
Have a meeting with the lawyer and go over all options available to compromise the lien from a write off by the company to paying a % of the lien or a % of the recovery on the case.
Health insurers are allowed to recoup the money that they spent for the client's treatment, as it prevents double recovery by the plaintiff. I agree with the other attorneys on this post that your lawyer (if he/she knew about it beforehand) should have discussed it with you and explained the process in detail. Even if the lawyer did not know about it, he/she should have explained that it was at least a possibility. This is a common situation though and the amount owed is reduced a large majority of the time to allow the client to recover some money. In some circumstances, if the lien holders refuse to reduce, the attorney can file a motion with the court for equitable distribution of the funds.
Is your daughter a minor or an adult? Has a release been signed? I am fairly certain the attorney knew about the lien.
This answer is intended for informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this site. Nothing on this site is intended to be, nor takes the place of, legal advice.
The liens can be defeated in some cases and not in others. A lawyer needs to analyze the policy rights in light of Georgia's Made Whole law. Your options depend on whether the settlement is completed and money is already dispersed. It is malpractice not to examine the reimbursement obligations so if everything is said and done, then it's time for a serious conversation with the lawyer.
It is very unlikely that the attorney did not know this information. As your attorney, he SHOULD have known this information prior to accepting a settlement. Also, he should be able to negotiate the lien to a lower amount. The issue is you will be holding the bag if the debt is not paid.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline