After the pain of a crash and the stress of a legal claim, accident victims understandably are eager to move on once a settlement has been negotiated or a legal decision handed down. A victim’s compensation for care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more have been calculated and a check has been sent, so the case is effectively over, right? Unfortunately, not always. Even once a victim’s award has been determined, there still may be those who seek to undercut an injury claim. Until the very end, victims and their families have to take care to protect their award compensation from those who may seek to try to cash in.
Understanding a Settlement Lien in Alaska
Before a victim actually receives his or her compensation, portions are taken out to satisfy debts related to the case. Typically, this simply involves paying the lawyer for his work on the case. At other times, though, a third party (or parties) may pursue a settlement lien. Generally speaking, a lien is a legal term that describes when the property of one person is taken to satisfy a debt to another person. A settlement lien, then, is a statement by a third party that he has a right to some portion of the settlement compensation.
Third Party Interest in an Alaska Injury Claim
Who might have a right to a portion of a victim’s settlement? Most of these parties are related to medical care, and they can include:
- Healthcare providers
- Health insurance companies
- Medicaid and Medicare
- Car insurance companies
How to Protect Your Settlement Compensation
To ensure that accident victims and their families receive as much of their award compensation as possible, it’s important to be proactive. An experienced attorney can help victims understand both their own rights and any rights others may have to the settlement. An effective lawyer can protect your compensation by:
- Identifying possible claimants. Some entities may have a legitimate legal claim to a portion of the funds, but others may be simply trying to get a little extra cash. An attorney can help accident victims understand the difference. Also, a comprehensive list of all those who may have a claim can help provide a clear picture of what will have to be paid.
- Negotiating with those who seek to recover funds. Even those with a claim to some of the settlement compensation may be willing to negotiate. Before the settlement is even final, it is possible to reach out to these parties and come to an agreement concerning what the accident victim will provide.
- Factoring the reimbursement costs into the settlement. Settlements involve a good deal of negotiation. If victims already know what to expect from those who may lay claim to compensation, that number can be considered in the settlement negotiation.
Even when a settlement has been reached, or the court has handed out a ruling, a victim’s case is not entirely complete. Protecting your compensation from those who may seek to gain a few extra dollars is incredibly important. Alaska attorney Ben Crittenden has been there before with other accident victims, and he can put his experience to work for you. He can help you protect your compensation to ensure that you and your family can obtain medical care and move forward from your injury securely. Call Ben in his Anchorage office today or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about what Ben does and how he may be able to help.