In dealing with a workers’ compensation claim, adjusters will want to be sure to be aware of any other entities that have a lien on money that might be awarded to the injured worker. In North Carolina workers’ compensation claims, there are 3 entities that we see most often with a lien that must be satisfied out of any settlement paid to the injured worker.
- Health Insurance Providers
- Veterans Administration
- Child Support Agencies
As the adjuster handling the claim, there are a few simple steps you can take to deal with liens efficiently.
Thoroughly Review the Records
Oftentimes, a thorough review of the records associated with the claim will put you on notice that there is a lien associated with the file.
- Medical Records: If you notice that the claimant received treatment for his injuries at the VA, they likely will have a lien and are entitled to repayment out of any settlement agreement. A review of the medical records will also likely show whether or not the health insurance provider has been paying for treatment and thus entitled to a lien.
- Wage Records: A review of wage records will show whether or not the claimant had part of his wages withheld to satisfy an outstanding child support obligation. Additionally, the child support agency in each county will likely send a you a letter immediately upon notification of the claimant’s injury.
If reviewing the records does not uncover the liens associated with the file, then the discovery process will be able to uncover any entity that might need to have a debt satisfied out of the settlement agreement. Discovery allows you and your attorney to figure out who has been paying for the medical treatment up unto this point and any liens associated.
A Well Drafted Settlement Agreement Can Make Your Life Easier
If you are able to settle the claim, all liens associated should be addressed when preparing the settlement agreement, or “clincher”. When preparing this agreement, you can address which party will be responsible for making sure the liens get paid. If you want to make your life easier, include language in the settlement agreement that the claimant must pay anyone with an associated lien – it will be one administrative task of your very full plate!
If you have any questions about liens or tips for effective claim management in dealing with liens, give me a call at 704-940-3442 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sticking with a few simple steps in handling each file will ensure you are on notice of any liens and they are taken care of during settlement.