This article continues our series on obtaining medical treatment after a car accident in Oklahoma. In the previous article, we explained how medical providers treat on a lien basis in Oklahoma. And how in most cases you must wait for your treatment to be fully complete before settling your case.
In this article, we will discuss how to finally pay for your treatment once your case has settled.
Paying lien holders from the settlement check
Your settlement will come in the form of a check from the insurance company, and will be sent to your attorney. Your attorney will then be obligated by law to pay any medical providers who have filed liens against you.
I would recommend reading this article to get an understanding of how liens affect your settlement.
Once we have deposited the settlement check into our client trust account, we must then deduct our expenses, and then our fees before disbursing the remainder to the client’s liens and to the client.
(If you want an overview of how contingency fee agreements work, and how legal fees and costs are paid out of settlements, then check our this article I wrote explaining that process).
How to Disburse the settlement money between legal fees, costs, and medical liens in Oklahoma
Once you have settled your case, you now have the money to pay off your medical bills, as well as the lawyer that you hired. However, the law prescribes a precise order of priority in how each of those items are paid.
In a nutshell, here is the process:
- We deposit the settlement check into our firm’s trust account
- We reimburse the firm for all expenses incurred in pursuit of the lawsuit/settlement. That money is deducted from the gross settlement.
- We then pay the firm for the agreed upon contingency fee. That is deducted from the net settlement.
- Now you have the client’s share. The client is responsible for paying his/her medical treatment. The client gets this money, but must pay for treatment.
How to Pay Medical Providers from the Settlement
If the client’s doctors filed a lien, then we will deduct the lien portion from the settlement and we will send it directly the lien holder/doctor. But if the medical provider did not file a lien, then we will not deduct that amount from the settlement.
As the client’s attorney, we only pay medical providers when those providers have filed a lien. Otherwise, we will disburse the remainder of the settlement to the client. We have no legal obligation to take money from the client and give it to some creditor who claims the client owes him money.
However, if the client requests otherwise, then we will send payment to the medical provider. We do what our clients want us to do! But we believe in letting the client make that decision.
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