A lien may be placed on a pending claim the patient has through their attorney. Just in general you can just place a lien unless you have a judgment and then you would have the judgment naturalized wherever the debtor moves.
The following is just some generic information for creditors who inadvertently decided they could be a lender or are just owed money.
The key to successful collections is information about a “way to go” from the debtor.
The debtor's income stream from wages or contracts needs to be legally intercepted before the debtor gets his or her hands on the money, or after the debtor puts the money in the bank. From contractual writs, to bank writs, attachments, to wage garnishments are all normal points in the income stream that may be intercepted, extreme points are forced sale of assets like a sheriff’s sale.
Bear in mind that if the debtor is eligible for protection under bankruptcy law that is their “get out of jail free card” and can be played when eligible and you will have to pay back anything that you obtained from 90 days prior. An interesting issue is always the age of the account and fresher is better; when the debt hits the statute of limitations you are done. Never wait to collect because the statistical percentage of recovery drops drastically between day 59 and day 90 past the due date.
Once you have a judgment and you can transcribe the judgment into the jurisdiction where the debtor lives or works you can collect.
If you have a judgment you can conduct supplemental proceedings or a debtor’s examination, or in the alternative, you can send interrogatories to the debtor. Supplemental Proceeding are mandatory and if the debtor ignores the summons, you may be able to get an order of contempt or a bench warrant with the bail set at the amount of the judgment.
If you suspect the debtor has transferred assets subsequent to your judgment or claim and you can prove it, you may have recourse under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act if the act was adopted by your state or the debtor’s state or where the assets are located.
You can also turn your account over to licensed and bonded collection agency for about half of the proceeds or hire a collection lawyer to work the account for a time or a percentage, usually half or less.
I mainly practice in San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom Counties in Washington State and you should talk with agencies and lawyers in the debtor’s area.
You can search the Avvo web site under the Find a Lawyer tab, or call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to an attorney near you. But always remember to act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to an attorney and finding out what your rights are. If this answer was helpful, please give a “Vote Helpful” review below. Please be sure to indicate the best answer to your question so we can all be sure we are being helpful. Thanks for asking and Good Luck
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Where were the medical services provided? If the medical services were provided in Washington, my reading of the Washington Statute (RCW 60.44.020(3)) indicates you file the lien in that Washington county. Cursory review of what seems like the NH analog, http://law.justia.com/codes/new-hampshire/2015/title-xli/chapter-448-a/section-448-a-1, suggests that state's statute is limited to medical services provided in that state. In case of doubt, could you file in both states? Furthermore, if you are recovering the funds from a pending lawsuit which caused the injury for which you provided medical services, where would the lawsuit occur, in WA or NH? Liens are only valuable to the extent they can attach to funds related to a pending lawsuit.
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