After a car crash, your priority is to get medical care. Health care providers, such as a hospital or home health agency, or health care professionals, such as your doctor or dentist, may cover significant amounts of your medical costs and allow you to get the medical treatment that you need to treat your injuries.
However, you may be required to pay back any health care professionals or providers for any services related to your accident injuries that you have not yet paid. In Illinois, health care reimbursement after a personal injury accident is covered by a statute known as the Illinois Health Services Lien Act.
What the Illinois Health Services Lien Act Means to You
The Illinois Health Services Lien Act (770 ILCS 23/10), establishes:
- How much the health insurance professionals and providers can recover from you
- What a health insurance provider or professional has to do to get a recovery from you
Below, we will address both of these important issues:
Amount of the Health Insurer’s Lien
The healthcare provider or professional may be reimbursed for the amount that it paid for your medical appointments, procedures, and treatments. However, there are limits to this recovery. For example:
- If all of your compensation would go to reimburse the healthcare provider or professional, then the healthcare provider’s or professional’s claim will be reduced
- The healthcare provider or professional must pay for its share of your attorney’s fees
- The healthcare provider’s or professional’s subrogation claim cannot exceed 40% of your recovery
More than one medical provider or professional may have a lien. If this occurs in your case, then parties with valid liens will be paid proportionally from your recovery.
How Healthcare Providers and Professionals Can Get Liens
Your medical bills do not constitute a lien. Instead, the healthcare provider or professional must create an enforceable lien by:
- Providing written notice that includes your name and address, the date of your injury, the name and address of your health care provider, and the name of the person who allegedly caused your car accident and from whom the health insurance company is seeking compensation
- Serving the lien on you and the person who allegedly caused your car accident or who is legally responsible for your injuries. The lien must be sent by registered mail or delivered in person.
The failure to do these things is a failure to create a lien.
Maximize Your Total Car Accident Injury Recovery
The Illinois Health Insurance Lien Act exists to prevent injured parties from receiving a windfall recovery. If your healthcare professional or provider did not yet charge you for your medical expenses, then it would be unfair for you to be compensated for the amount they covered.
Part of your settlement or court verdict may go to your medical provider or professional, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight for compensation. The car accident recovery that ends up in your bank account should still include compensation for:
- Medical expenses you paid. This could include, for example, co-pays, deductibles, and appointments or treatments that were not covered by your health insurer, provider, or professional.
- Lost income. Any income that you did not earn because of your injuries is compensable.
- Physical pain and emotional suffering. Physical pain and psychological suffering can be significant after a car crash. These injuries should be part of your settlement or court verdict.
- Other damages. Your car accident injuries caused any other damages that you can prove should be part of your recovery.
Our experienced Illinois car accident lawyers will fight for your fair and full recovery. We will:
- Advocate for your recovery of damages, as described above
- Make sure that any health liens are correctly served and fair
- Make sure that the health lien holders pay their reasonable part of your attorney fees
- Advise you of all of your legal options so that you can make informed decisions
Illinois insurance companies know that we mean business. Often, that makes them willing to settle with us, but if they are unwilling to make a fair settlement, then we won’t hesitate to go to court on your behalf. Call us, or contact us anytime, to schedule a free consultation in any of our Illinois offices or your home or hospital room.