As an accident attorney here in Atlanta who deals with medical liens on a regular basis, there are some important points you need to know if you have outstanding medical liens. First, if you have been injured in auto accident and do not have health insurance there are health care providers that will treat you on what is called a medical lien. This means the medical provider will have a lien against your settlement and will be legally entitled to proceeds from your settlement. This is obviously a fair arrangement as the health care provider treated you without upfront payment for their services.
In such cases your personal injury attorney will pay your health care providers after your case has been settled. Upon receipt of the settlement check from the responsible insurance company, your attorney will hold the funds in trust account. At this stage of the settlement process your attorney can attempt to negotiate your medical bills for less than the original billed amount. Not all health care providers will negotiate their bills but an experienced accident attorney will know how to proceed and which health care providers will play ball.
Often negotiating a medical bill can take weeks or even months to finalize. Some attorneys as a favor to their clients will go ahead and issue a settlement check to the client even before all medial billing negotiations have been finalized. This can be helpful to those injured victims where money is tight and bills need to be paid.
Since negotiating medical bills can take time, there is a danger that the medical provider will report the outstanding bill to the credit reporting agencies. This is a danger to those of you who have been injured in an auto accident but are holding out on paying the medical providers timely. You may ultimately end up with more money in your pocket once the bills have been finalized but you could also end up with a ding to your credit score.