Colorado Accident & Injury Law Part III – Lien Issues In Auto Cases
- Lien issues involve an area of increasing Plaintiff counsel involvement, and one of growing liability for Plaintiff counsel. There are pecuniary and ethical concern. Long gone are the days when the Plaintiff attorney did not need to be concerned about who might have a third party claim to money that the client would be receiving. Now there is a substantial duty to inquire as to whether there is a claim by any third party, or governmental entity, that paid money (or who might be liable to pay money in the future with respect to Medicare), to determine whether that third party or governmental entity has a right to be repaid.
- The med-pay auto insurer no longer has a valid subrogation claim, as stated in section II above. That has removed one area of problems in the Plaintiff’s auto injury claim. Remaining as significant issues are liens of hospitals, liens of health care providers, liens of health insurers, liens for workers’ compensation benefits, and Medicaid and Medicare liens.
A. HOSPITAL LIENS 10-27-101
Every hospital duly licensed by the department of public health and environment, pursuant to part 1 of article 3 of title 25, C.R.S., which furnishes services to any person injured as the result of the negligence or other wrongful acts of another person and not covered by the provisions of the “Workers’ Compensation Act of Colorado” shall, subject to the provisions of this article, have a lien for all reasonable and necessary charges for hospital care upon the net amount payable to such injured person, his heirs, assigns, or legal representatives out of the total amount of any recovery or sum had or collected, or to be collected, whether by judgment, settlement, or compromise, by such person, his heirs, or legal representatives as damages on account of such injuries. The lien of attorneys and counselors at law created by section 12-5-119, C.R.S., shall have precedence over and be senior to the lien created under this section. The provisions of this article shall not apply to any hospital charges incurred subsequent to any such judgment, settlement, or compromise.
- The lien is effective when filed with the Secretary of State.
- If any auto injury victim has had treatment at a Colorado Hospital, it is incumbent on Plaintiff’s counsel to inquire with the Secretary of State whether there is a lien. At the Colorado Secretary of State website //www.sos.state.co.us/, more information is available.