Medical Liens: The Secret to Getting More Money For Your Car Accident Claim

So after intensive negotiations, the insurance company is dug in. They're offer is final. They're not going to pay you any more for your injury. Should you take their offer? Is that the best settlement you can get? Consider for a moment how injury attorneys work. They negotiate with the insurance company, take 1/3 of the settlement, pay back their client's medical bills, and still find some money to put in the client's pocket. How do they do it? Where does that extra 1/3 that represents their fee come from?

One explanation is that they have experience dealing with insurance companies. True, but in simple auto claims attorneys can't negotiate much better than you can. There's just not a lot to talk about. The real secret is that attorneys know that the negotiation with the auto insurance company is just the beginning of the process. Once they've gotten the best offer they can, a good attorney will negotiate to reduce the medical liens.

Medical liens can come from medical providers that treated you or the health or auto insurance company that paid your medical bills. Liens are basically just bills that have to be paid back out of the lawsuit. You can negotiate liens just like a lawyer. There's nothing stopping you from trying to get the lien holders to accept less than the amount that they paid just like a lawyer would do. And by the way, you can also negotiate your medical bills down even if they're not liens.

But why would a lien holder accept less? There are two reasons: First, they're used to accepting less than the full amount. It's become standard in the medical field to bill more and expect that whoever is paying that bill will pay a small fraction of it. If you pay 2/3 of your bill, you've paying more than most people.

The second reason lienholders will take less is that they're at risk. If you don't recover on your case, the lienholders can't collect on their lien. So they're happy to cut their lien by 1/3 to eliminate the risk. Your conversation with them might go something like this: "I have an offer from the insurance company...it's less than I was hoping for...if you can reduce your lien by 1/3 I think I could settle the case and avoid hiring a lawyer and going to trial. Most lien holders will accept 2/3 on the spot, without any further negotiation.

So when you settle your claim, spend a few extra minutes to negotiate to lower the amount you owe for your medical bills. Doing so should instantly increase your settlement by at least 1/3.