Liens Against Personal Injury Recoveries (PIP, ERISA, Medicare, etc.)
Getting a monetary recovery from the person who has injured you is sometimes half the battle. After you get the recovery, there may be financial obligations owing to health insurers and car insurers who have already paid your medical expenses. In Kansas, the first $4,500 (sometimes more) of your medical expenses are covered by your own car insurer (regardless of fault) under what is called PIP (personal injury protection). This $4,500 must be paid back to your car insurer, when you make a recovery against the other driver and their insurance. If your health insurer pays medical bills after this first $4,500, they also may assert a lien against your recovery. Whether you have to pay the health insurer back out of your recovery is less clear and depends on a number of factors that your attorney can help sort through (these liens are often called ERISA liens). If you receive Medicare or Medicaid, then they have what is called a “super lien” against your recovery, and they must be dealt with before keeping a final amount from your recovery. Whether the case is a car accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice or other negligence claim, these lien issues can become a real problem later if not dealt with when known. Getting a good recovery is vital, but even a good recovery can become a very average one if liens against the recovery are not adequately handled.