Arizona lien law is complicated and continuously evolving. When you are injured, seek medical treatment, and pursue a claim against the third party that caused you harm, Arizona’s lien laws will inevitably find their way into the discussion and likely play a part in your ultimate settlement and recovery.
Most recently, in the case of Premier Physicians Group v. Navarro, decided August 30, 2016, the Arizona Supreme Court addressed the issue of when a non-hospital health care provider must comply with certain procedural requirements in order to ensure payment of its charges. In other words, if a non-hospital health care provider wants to be paid in full for charges stemming from treatment given to an injured party, it must follow certain steps. When those steps are followed, the non-hospital health care provider can be a part of the injured person’s ultimate settlement and receive payment from settlement funds. In Premier Physicians Group, the Supreme Court held that according to the plain language of the lien statute, A.R.S. § 33-932(A), a lien must be perfected within 30 days after the non-hospital health care provider first provides services and if it is not, the lien is invalid. This is an important distinction because the main issue in this case was whether a non-hospital health care provider who treats a patient for a number of months must meet the procedural requirements to ensure its lien 30-days after the end of treatment or 30-days after treatment is first rendered. The Supreme Court held that the procedural requirements must be met 30-days after initial treatment, which may result in the invalidation of certain liens filed beyond the initial 30-day period.
Properly filed liens are valid and must be contemplated when settling claims. However, many medical providers are willing to negotiate their full lien amounts and settle for something less. When interviewing attorneys to assist you with the handling of your injury claim, it is important to ask whether or not the attorney will attempt to negotiate any liens that develop as a result of your medical treatment. When a lien is negotiated and a lesser amount will be accepted by the treating facility, the result is an increase in the ultimate recovery you will receive when your case is finally resolved.
It is essential for an injured party to be aware of Arizona’s lien laws and understand that a properly filed lien can and will impact the ultimate claim resolution. It is for this reason, and many others, that we recommend those injured seek legal counsel. The laws are constantly evolving and if you have not sought the help of an experienced attorney, you may end up paying for a lien that has been invalidated or for its full value if no attempt to negotiate a lesser amount was pursued.
The information provided in this website is meant only as a general description of the current laws as of the date of the writing. It is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of all the nuances of the law and is intended to be only an overview. Many issues may appear simpler than they are, and an individual should always contact an attorney to obtain a complete, accurate interpretation of the law given the individual’s particular circumstances. POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN, PLLC makes no representations as to how the law would affect a particular situation and intends only to illustrate areas of concern and give general information.