What Is a Lien in a Nevada Personal Injury or Accident Case?

A Nevada medical lien grants a health provider the right to be paid for services directly from the proceeds of a patient's personal injury lawsuit or out-of-court settlement.

Liens are typically used when a plaintiff cannot afford to wait for a settlement or jury award and:

  • The plaintiff does not have health insurance, Medicare, Med Pay or other "no fault" insurance, or
  • The plaintiff cannot afford to pay the deductible and/or co-pays under his or her medical insurance policy.

Finding a doctor, chiropractor or therapist willing to work on a "lien basis" in Nevada can be challenging.

Our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers work with a variety of caring healthcare professionals willing to treat patients in exchange for a lien.

To help you better understand medical liens in a Nevada injury or accident case, our Las Vegas Nevada personal injury lawyers discuss below:

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1. How does a lien work in a Nevada accident or injury case?

If you are injured in Nevada as a result of someone's negligence or intentional act, you may be able to sue that person or his/her insurer for your damages. This includes compensation for medical bills due to an accident or injury in Nevada

However, the other side rarely admits fault right away. And even when it does, the wrongdoer's insurer or lawyer often requires extensive proof before paying medical bills after a Nevada car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, or a product liability or other injury case.

In the meantime, however, you still need medical treatment. If you have health insurance, Medicare or Med Pay insurance, your insurer will pay the bills in the interim (subject, in some cases to a right to reimbursement, or "subrogation in Nevada").

In other cases, you may need to receive such services “on credit.” This credit is secured by a lien on the proceeds you ultimately receive from a lawsuit or out-of-court settlement.

Some liens are created automatically by a provision of law.1 Most liens, however, are created by a contract between the person or entity providing the services and the person receiving them.

Once you have signed a lien agreement with your Nevada doctor or healthcare provider, the doctor will “perfect” the lien and send notice to the responsible insurer.2 This will give the doctor the right to be paid first before you receive any funds by way of judgment or settlement.

2. What happens if I lose my case?

In the event that you do not recover enough to pay for your medical bills, we may be able to negotiate a reduction on your behalf.

The medical professionals we work with are usually cooperative in negotiating their bills should this happen.

And while we cannot offer guarantees, we are often also able to negotiate a reduction in medical bills when a settlement is not large enough to pay the bills and still have something left over for the plaintiff.

3. When should I hire a doctor on a lien in Nevada?

In general, a lien is used when there is no other way for a plaintiff to get medical treatment after an accident or injury.

People sometimes think it is more advantageous to use a lien instead of health insurance. This is because settlements in personal injury cases are often based on a multiple of the plaintiff's medical bills.

However, your doctor bills will initially be sent out at the doctor's full rate for such services. The discount negotiated by your health insurer will apply only AFTER the bills have been submitted to your insurer for reimbursement. If the liable party's insurer makes a settlement offer, it will be taken into account the full value of the doctor's services. 

Additionally, since you are ultimately legally responsible for whatever portion of your medical bills is not paid by an insurer, you want that balance to be as low as possible.

Putting the claims through your health insurance means your costs will be limited at most to your unpaid deductible and co-pays. And since health insurance usually contains out-of-pocket maximums, your potential losses are minimized.

4. Why do I need a lawyer to negotiate a Nevada medical lien?

Liens are legally enforceable contracts. The forms the doctor or hospital uses will have been drafted by the provider's lawyer. The terms will favor the provider -- sometimes significantly.

When your lawyer drafts the agreement, you will usually end up with more favorable terms. For instance, your lawyer may be able to get a provision into the contract that discounts the amount you owe in the event you do not get a sufficient settlement or you lose your lawsuit.

Injured in Las Vegas? Call us for help…

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If you have been injured in an accident or by a dangerous product in Nevada and you can't afford your medical bills, our Las Vegas injury lawyers may be able to help.

For a free consultation to discuss your case, call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or complete the form on this page.

One of our knowledgeable Nevada personal injury lawyers will get back to you promptly so that you can get the medical and legal help you need without delay.

Legal references:

  1. For instance, when Medicare is used to pay for medical services in a personal injury case, the government automatically has a lien for reimbursement from the proceeds of a personal injury lawsuit or out-of-court settlement. 42 U.S.C. 1395y(b)(2).
  2. The details of how this happens are unimportant to the plaintiff. The important thing to remember is that even if the lien is not perfected, you are still legally responsible for your medical bills.

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