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Medical Liens Can Be Helpful After a Car Accident in California

medical liens are used to fight the high cost of medical bills after a car accident

How Do Medical Liens Work After a Car Accident in California?

Even minor accidents can impact your body and health in significant ways. And because some symptoms can take hours or even days to appear, it is important that you seek medical attention following an accident.

If you are considering pursuing legal recourse or expecting compensation from an insurance company, documentation of your injuries from a hospital or medical facility can help establish your claim.

Health care in the United States is costly, so what should you do if you don’t have the money to cover all of your necessary injury-related care upfront?

California’s Medical Lien Laws

California law provides a remedy to the potentially high costs of health care by allowing injured parties to use medical liens. In short, medical liens allow patients to forego upfront payment and use the settlement they receive to reimburse the hospital or medical professionals for their services.

These liens can be statutory or contractual, depending on the type and place of the care you receive. You can seek emergency medical attention at a hospital following your accident and use a hospital lien to cover these costs.

The hospital provides written notice to the responsible party, which is usually the insurance company, in cases of motor vehicle accidents. This notice establishes the hospital as a payee of a portion of your settlement.

If you plan to use a contractual medical lien, make sure you check with your preferred doctor or specialist about their willingness to accept this form of payment. Because of the extended time frames involved in injury cases and the potentially high cost of medical treatment, it may be difficult to find a doctor that will agree to a contractual medical lien.

However, once you have reached an agreement with a doctor who is open to this form of payment, you will need to sign a lien agreement to finalize the process.

Your Settlement Distribution

If you find yourself in a situation where the cost of your accident-related health care necessitates a medical lien, you will probably want to know how that will affect your net settlement amount. In most cases, the hospital or doctor will be paid by the defendant or insurance company. The amount they can receive is limited to the reasonable and necessary value of the care they provided.

In situations where your health insurance covers any or all of your treatment, they may also be allowed reimbursement if the medical care they paid for is included in your settlement. California Civil Code has placed a maximum on the amount of money your health insurance can claim from your injury settlement, which varies based on the individual circumstances of your case.

Despite their complicated nature, medical liens can be valuable for injured parties. They allow you to prioritize your health over any financial considerations that can sometimes prevent necessary treatment.


Under California law, you are entitled to pursue compensation from all parties that may have caused or contributed to your car accident and resulting injuries. The personal injury attorneys at ALL Trial Lawyers want to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a car accident, we can guide you on what to do next. At ALL Trial Lawyers, we want to assist car accident survivors and loved ones of those who have died in car accidents in California with their injury and wrongful death claims.

Call us now to speak a lawyer and for your free consultation. Contact our office at (866) 811-4255.

We proudly serve all of Southern California. We have an office located near you and we’re ready to start working on your case.

We have handled hundreds of personal injury cases in Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County and Riverside County.

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