Resolution of Healthcare Liens – The Problem for Plaintiff Personal Injury Law Firms
You might ask yourself, why hire experts to assist with lien resolution when I can do it myself. You also might ask whether it is ethically permissible to outsource lien resolution to a lien resolution company. The first question is quite simple to answer and the second one requires a little more examination of the rules regulating lawyers.
The problem really starts with the responsibilities a law firm has at the beginning of each new case as it pertains to liens. I use lien synonymously with subrogation, reimbursement, and debts here even though there are differences. Given the law, a law firm must track liens that are asserted against their client’s personal injury claim and in some instances will have an affirmative duty to investigate and identify possible liens (Medicare & Medicare Advantage plans are good examples).
The law firm must determine whether a lien holder’s claim has merit and is legally valid. To reach resolution, this requires a law firm to have significant contact and interaction with a variety of lien holders along with recovery vendors. At the conclusion of the case, it frequently requires protracted negotiations to reach an agreement to resolve the claims made by a lien holder or recovery vendor against a settlement, judgment, or verdict. The bigger issue, given the distractions it creates, is that law firms frequently wait too long to begin to negotiate a reimbursement to a lien holder which can delay disbursement to the injury victim. All the foregoing creates pressure on law firms to outsource lien resolution functions.