Health Insurance Liens
Author: Attorney Dennis Schaefer
Often health insurance liens in personal injury cases can make them very difficult to settle. Clients generally have no understanding of an insurance company’s right to subrogate. In fact, most clients don’t know what subrogation means. All of this information usually comes as a surprise.
A subrogation clause will be found in almost every health insurance policy. This clause gives the insurance company the right to collect, from a third party and even sometimes first party benefits, monies that they have expended to their insured in the claim. If the health insurance has paid out more than the policy of liability insurance on the claim than settlement would appear to be impossible.
Florida Statute does require the insurance company seeking subrogation to reduce its dollar for dollar lien. The insurance company has to consider attorney’s fees and costs. Attorney’s fees should be considered at the same percentage reduction as the amount contracted with the claimant’s attorney. Additionally the limits of liability insurance, any comparative negligence and equity should all be considered. See Florida Statute chapter 768.
What might have appeared as a claim that was not able to be settled, might turn out to be worth quite a bit of money to your client. Most of the times personal injury lawyers job is to get the best offer or settlement available. Sometimes the best results might be in the ability to get the medical liens waived or significantly reduced.