Why is a medical lien filed against me?

You were injured in a wreck that was not your fault.  You are hurt, scared, mad, and more than a little confused as to why you are getting the bills when you were innocent in all of this?  The bills you can handle, but A LIEN??!!  What is this document you just received and why are you getting it in the first place?

The first thing to do is calm down.  The lien may look scary and sound like you’re going to start being garnished, but that is almost never the case.  What really happened is the the medical facility who provided you care has simply placed themselves in line for payment directly from the at-fault party.  They certainly have a right to be paid for the services they rendered.  This lien is notice to all parties involved (you, your attorney if you have one, and the liability insurance carrier) that a bill exists which needs to be paid.  Your name is on that bill since you received the care, so the lien exists against the potential proceeds you might recover from the at-fault party.

A.C.A § 18-46-105 outlines the requirements of a valid medical, nursing, hospital or ambulance lien.  This statute is very specific and must be followed precisely in order for a lien to be enforceable.  In reality, many of the “liens” we see have not strictly followed the statute and are probably invalid, but it’s still important they are dealt with to ensure peace of mind for our injured clients.  The injury attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton are well-versed in how to read these documents and will counsel you the steps necessary to protect you and your settlement proceeds.

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