Caution to Plaintiff’s Counsel –If Medicare Paid your Client you may be subject to a lien and can be personally liable for repayment
Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company in their July 2010 newsletter warned attorneys who settle cases in which the plaintiff may have been paid “conditional” medicare benefits, that the government has a lien against any funds received by the client. The problem is that they have been holding attorneys liable when the collect back the conditional benefits they paid before the lawyer obtained payment for the plaintiff. The Lawyers Mutual Ins. Company article suggests ways to protect yourself. Go to www.lmick.com and look for their newsletter for July 2010.
If you pay out funds to your client who has received medical benefits under Medicare or ERISA for the injury you just litigated to a settlement or final judgement and you didn’t protect the feds [OR EMPLOYER] on the medical expenditures paid by Medicare or the ERISA employer then the feds [or your client’s employer if it’s ERISA] may come knockin’ on your door. You’ll be toast!!! They have a great lien law. Most of you already know this. Then this is a reminder to the cognoscenti.
This has been the law for a long time but the feds and employers are more fixed and serious as we head into the belly of the medical health beast these days.
As for ERISA employer health plans, get a copy of the client’s ERISA health plan and read [and understand] it. Longaberger Co. v. Kolt, 586 F.3d 459 (6th Cir. 2009)