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How Does a Lien Affect My Workers’ Comp?

On behalf of Brad Wicker of BDIW Law posted on Thursday February 24, 2022.

If you have received workers’ compensation benefits from a third party, see why your employer may file a lien for reimbursement.

If you have been injured in the workplace, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp benefits help pay for medical bills and lost wages caused by a workplace accident.

When you receive these benefits, you usually cannot file a lawsuit as well. That is the trade-off, making workers’ compensation benefits a sole and exclusive remedy in most cases. However, there are some exceptions. For example, if your workplace injury was caused by another party besides your employer, such as a customer, subcontractor, or equipment manufacturer, then you may be able to sue for additional compensation.

If you win your case, though, you may not be entitled to the entire award. That is because there is the possibility that your employer may try to seek its portion of the money through a lien. A lien is allowed under the law. What it does, in a nutshell, is allow your employer to recoup the wages it paid you under its workers compensation insurance. The employer is therefore allowed to recover, from that same lawsuit, any and all damages in which the employer was obligated to pay the injured worker, including wages, salaries, pensions, and any other monetary compensation , paid to the employee and their dependents.

As long as the employer was not liable for causing the workplace injury in any way, they can recoup the compensation at the time in which the injured worker recovers from a lawsuit against a third-party defendant. But that is not all. Workers’ compensation insurance carriers can also recover compensation from the injured worker. It is even possible for the insurance company to stop you from getting the entire award until they get their portion first.

These liens can be unfair for injured workers. In fact, in some instances, a workers’ compensation insurance company might place a hefty lien that is more than what the worker will get in a personal injury lawsuit. In this case, a lawsuit would be counterproductive, forcing the worker to drop the lawsuit altogether.

However, you should not do anything until you speak with a lawyer first. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your options. One good option would be to get the insurance company to reduce the amount of the lien. This would allow you to move forward with your lawsuit and allow both you and the insurance company to at least get some compensation.

Contact Our Tulsa Workers’ Comp Lawyers Today

Workers’ compensation costs can be expensive and therefore employers may try to seek reimbursement in the form of a lien. A lien can reduce your final compensation, which can be a source of frustration after a serious accident.

Have you been injured in a workplace accident? If so, the Tulsa personal injury attorneys at Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker can help you understand what to expect. Let us help you get the benefits you need. Call (580) 765-9660 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation.