Experienced Attorneys Specializing in DC Car Accident Cases Understand Liens.
If you were seriously injured in a car accident in Washington, D.C., you're already dealing with the other driver's insurance company, trying to get a fair and full settlement for your injuries (we help guide a lot of people through that process - so they can thrive). But you may be dealing with another problem that most people have no idea even exists.
We see this a lot when people try to handle their own car accident case in D.C. and make this mistake - so if you're going to handle your own case against the insurance compapny, just make sure you know the law and how insurance companies work.
In a car accident case, a lien is a right to be repaid out of a settlement. It can also be called subrogation. And it will affect the amount you ultimately receive for your injuries.
The Type of Liens in D.C. Car Accident Cases
The #1 category of lienholders in car accident cases are health insurance companies. Here's how that works:
If you have health insurance, you should be using it for the medical treatment you need after a serious injury. Some Maryland residents may have Personal Injury Protection, usually called PIP, and some Virginia residents may have medical payments coverage on their own car insurance policies.
Usually, this coverage is limited to $2,500 or $5,000 - you can check the Declarations page on your own car insurance coverage to find out if you have that type of coverage (the Declarations page is one of the first pages of your car insurance policy and shows how much you pay in premiums and the types of insurance coverage you have).
A word of warning though - for D.C. residents, or D.C. car insurance policies, taking your PIP coverage could waive your right to make a claim against the other driver's insurance company. So if you've been in an accident in D.C. check with our experienced D.C. accident attorneys before signing anything!
For Virginia and Maryland, PIP and med pay coverage do not have a lien against your settlement recovery, but they also don't provide much in the way of benefits either.
Your Health Insurance May Have A Right To Be Repaid After A Car Accident Settlement
Most health insurance companies have a right of subrogation or lien (which just means they have a right to be repaid what they paid for your medical treatment if you settle your claim with the other driver's insurance company).
You should still use health insurance to pay for your medical treatment, hospitalization and surgery costs from the accident because your health insurance company never pays the full cost of the treatment, so even if they are repaid out of a settlement, you are repaying them less than the actual cost of the care.
Accident Victim Warning:
Some doctors don't want to take health insurance if you were hurt in a car accident (and some may tell you they "can't" take your health insurance - but this is wrong). The reason they do this is so they can charge you the full amount of the medical treatment and get repaid the full amount out of your settlement.
Don't fall for this trick - it will cost you money.
Plus what happens if the other driver does not have enough insurance coverage and your uninsured motorist coverage is limited, or you lose the case or have to compromise with a relatively low settlement? You will still owe the doctor's office the full amount of the treatment.
If you're a Medicare patient, by law, Medicare is also entitled to be repaid for the medical expenses they covered. But again, they pay much less for medical treatment than the actual doctor or hospital charges.
If Your Auto Accident Happened While You Were On the Job, The Workers Compensation Insurance Company Will Have A Lien On The Accident Settlement
The other common situation we see is if you are at work and in an accident caused by someone else (not your employer). If this is your situation, you actually have 2 cases - a workers compensation case for the injuries and time out of work because you were injured at work, and a case against the other driver who caused the accident.
Our D.C. injury lawyers help guide people through both types of cases and make sure we can maximize your recovery.
The workers comp insurance company will have a right to be repaid what they have paid to you in benefits and for your medical treatment when you settle your case against the other driver's insurance company (and sometimes this is called a 3rd party case).
Again, the workers compensation statute in D.C. requires a reduction in the amount of the workers comp insurance lien, depending on how much you recover from the other driver's insurance company - that is a complicated statutory formula that a lot of attorneys don't understand or deal with.
Call Our Experienced D.C. Injury Lawyers To Guide You Through Your Accident Case
We make it easy for you to get started. And we guide you through every step of the process. We give you a plan. So you'll know exactly what to expect. Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320.