1 LIENS, SETTLEMENTS, WORKERS COMPENSATION CONSIDERATIONS By G. Grant Dixon III Dixon Law Office 1415 West 55 th Street Suite 104 LaGrange, Illinois (708)
2 What are the 2 issues you deal with most in auto cases? Medical Liens Medicare
3 What is a lien? Statutory That means there has to be a statute that gives you the right to pursue the claim Strictly construed Often method for abuse of victims by unscrupulous medical providers Lawyers, judges, clients hate them
4 What Does a Lien Give the Claimant? Another way to get money (not the only way, just another way) Has right to get money out of the lawsuit proceeds Becomes one of the claimants in the case To get that right, there are obligations
5 Medical Liens in Illinois
6 Medical Liens in Illinois Health Care Services Lien Act, 770 Ill. Comp. Stat. 23/1 et. seq. (2003) Incorporates all prior medical liens in this Act Sets out requirements for medical liens to be valid
7 VALID Medical Liens Have... Written notice the name of the injured person; address of the injured person; date of the injury; the name of the health care health care professional or health care provider; address of the health care health care professional or health care provider; the name of the party alleged to be liable to make compensation to the injured person for the injuries received (a/k/a the defendant). Service on the plaintiff (injured party); Service of the written notice on the defendant; Served on both by REGISTERED mail, CERTIFIED mail, or PERSONAL SERVICE.
8 Why do you care? Invalid liens have NO right of recovery from case STILL may have contractual rights of reimbursement Use as a negotiating tool
9 Key Feature #1 of Medical Lien Act
10 The 40% Rule Good: Says all lienholders cannot take more than 40% of settlement Bad: Says lawyer cannot take more than 25%
11 How Does This Work? Gross Settlement Amount $100, Fee $ 33, Expenses $ 5,000.00
12 How Does This Work? Gross Settlement Amount $100, Fee $ 33, Expenses $ 5, Hospital lien $ 35, Doc lien $ 25, PT Lien $ 10, Total Liens $ 70,000.00
13 How Does This Work? Gross Settlement Amount $100, Fee $ 33, Expenses $ 5, Hospital lien $ 35, Doc lien $ 25, PT Lien $ 10, Total Liens $ 70, Net to Client $ (8,333.33)
14 How Does This Work? Gross Fund Doctrine Settlement Amount $100, $ 100, Fee $ 33, $ 33, Expenses $ 5, $ 5, Hospital lien $ 35, $ 35, Doc lien $ 25, $ 16, PT Lien $ 10, $ 6, Total Liens $ 70, $ 58, Net to Client $ (8,333.33)
15 How Does This Work? Gross Fund Doctrine Settlement Amount $100, $ 100, Fee $ 33, $ 33, Expenses $ 5, $ 5, Hospital lien $ 35, $ 35, Doc lien $ 25, $ 16, PT Lien $ 10, $ 6, Total Liens $ 70, $ 58, Typically hospital lien not subject to Fund Doctrine Net to Client $ (8,333.33)
16 How Does This Work? Gross Fund Doctrine Settlement Amount $100, $ 100, Fee $ 33, $ 33, Expenses $ 5, $ 5, Hospital lien $ 35, $ 35, Doc lien $ 25, $ 16, PT Lien $ 10, $ 6, Total Liens $ 70, $ 58, Net to Client $ (8,333.33) $ 3, Saving to Client $ 11,666.33
17 How Does This Work? Gross Fund Doctrine Act Settlement Amount $100, $ 100, $100, Fee Lawyer $ 33, gets $8,333 less $ 33, $ 25, Expenses $ 5, $ 5, $ 5, Hospital lien Hospital $ 35, gets $15,000 less $ 35, $ 20, Doc lien Doc $ 25, gets $10,700 less$ 16, $ 14, PT Lien PT $ 10, gets $4,285 less$ 6, $ 5, Total Liens $ 70, $ 58, $ 40, Net to Client $ (8,333.33) $ 3, Saving to Client $ 11,666.33
18 How Does This Work? Gross Fund Doctrine Act Settlement Amount $100, $ 100, $100, Fee $ 33, $ 33, $ 25, Expenses $ 5, $ 5, $ 5, Hospital lien $ 35, $ 35, $ 20, Doc lien $ 25, $ 16, $ 14, PT Lien $ 10, $ 6, $ 5, Total Liens $ 70, $ 58, $ 40, Client nets $26,000 more than under Fund Doctrine Net to Client $ (8,333.33) $ 3, $ 30, Saving to Client $ 11, $ 38,333.00
19 Key Feature #2 of Medical Lien Act
20 Arthur v. Catour 770 Ill. Comp. Stat. 23/25 They have 20 days to prove up the bills Can a billing person render the opinion as to what the injuries were? Isn t that medical judgment? Does that mean doctor has to say it? Can a judge say this in not enough evidence to introduce the bills into evidence? If this is enough to make the plaintiff liable, shouldn t it be enough to make the defendant pay?
21 One more thing.... When you negotiate, confirm all agreements in writing Make sure confirmation has this language: This confirms our agreement that Lienholder has agreed to accept $ in full satisfaction of its claims against CLIENT. If this letter accurately reflects our agreement, please sign where indicated below and return it to me by facsimile (our fax number is ). Upon receipt of the signed letter and settlement proceeds, we will issue your office a check in the amount of $ in full satisfaction of the claims of Lienholder. Send check with the same language
22 Medical Liens in Illinois Remember to check liens for compliance with Act Use 40% Rule to your client s advantage When needed, use the Anti- Arthur feature
23 What is the single biggest headache Question: for all plaintiff s lawyers?
24 Dealing With Medicare
25 True or false A hospital has to accept Medicare? Medicare will pay insured s bills? Only people over 65 are Medicare eligible? Medicare has a lien? You have to wait for Medicare to come to you? You have to notify Medicare when you get hired? Medicare knows what it is doing? There is nothing you can do to make Medicare move faster? False False if there is someone else to pay False. Many others qualify. FALSE False False True (if you define knowing what you are doing as not knowing what you are doing) FALSE
26 How to Deal With Medicare The Three Step Process Notify Wait Adjudicate
27 Medicare: Three Step Process Step 1 Notify Medicare of claim When? When case SETTLES No need to do so before How? Case settled letter
28 Medicare: Three Step Process HIC Date of injury Release Settlement amount Liability claims Adjuster info Case Expenses WITH detail Fee in % and $ Request itemization
29 Medicare: Three Step Process Step 2 Wait 90 days Why? 42 CFR (d)(2) gives 60 days plus to end of month Tell your client
30 And wait....
31 And then....
32 Medicare: Three Step Process Step 3 Adjudicate the Medicare claim Why? You will wait years Must get attention Must protect client Must protect YOU
33 Medicare: Three Step Process How do you adjudicate the Medicare claim? Simple motion asking for amount they deserve Describe details of case, claims Attach your notice to Medicare and POS
34 Medicare: Three Step Process Where do you adjudicate? ANYWHERE your CASE has SMJ, period State court Federal court Why does State Court have jurisdiction? Who has the money? Is the Medicare claim new? Isn t the Medicare claim a collateral issue to the case Think ERISA just because it involves Federal law doesn t mean it has to be heard in Federal Court
35 Medicare: Three Step Process Who gets notice of your motion to adjudicate? HHS in Washington DC Local US Attorney s Office Medicare, CMS ANYONE at Medicare you ve ever communicated with Defense attorney All other claimants Courtesy copy to judge Serve by FedEx get signature Give at least two weeks notice, more is better
36 Medicare: Three Step Process What will happen The AUSA will call Will be mad Will threaten to remove Will say no jurisdiction Politely explain that you just want to give the government the money they deserve You will get your numbers
37 Why does this work? You re not trying to steal their money You have complied with all laws Have you ever worked for the Federal Government? And if it doesn t, aren t you far better off than you were before?
38 Medicare: Three Step Process So remember... Notify Wait Adjudicate
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