Beware of the ERISA Lien!
You should be aware that often, if your car accident medical bills were paid by health insurance of an employerʼs health plan, the health insurance company or plan may want you to reimburse it out of any personal injury recovery. Your “insurance” turns out to be not insurance at all, but a “loan.”
The laws in some states, including Virginia, generally prohibit such claims by insurance companies, but they make the claims anyway. We have seen cases where the insurance companies hired lawyers to make the claims for them.
What they donʼt tell you is that this area of law, known as “reimbursement or subrogation” is actually quite complicated and is sometimes governed by a federal law called ERISA (The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974). Your attorney must understand the implications of ERISA on your case.
There are other liens that may affect your total recovery in the case. If your bills were paid by Medicare or Medicaid, the United States Government (including “free” military care) you may be forced to pay back a portion of your settlement.
Most people don’t even know about ERISA and the need to reimburse them if you are involved in an accident. I recommend that you call your health insurance company to find out if you have an ERISA insurance policy and trying to change it if you can.
Your Richmond, VA lawyer will know all of the details of the Virginia Law that is applicable to your personal injury case, so if you have any questions call your lawyer. Mr. O’Bryan loves to talk to his clients and is easy to reach by phone.