Lien Definition

A lien is a claim a lender makes against a piece of collateral a borrower owns.

Common examples of liens include mortgages and car notes, where the house or automobile serves as collateral for the loan. In these situations, the borrower’s property has a lien on it, since the lender can make a claim on it if the borrower fails to pay back the loan.

Liens also exist in personal injury law. If a plaintiff owes a debt to a third party, such as a healthcare provider, they may place a lien on any settlement the plaintiff receives.

If you need help understanding or negotiating a lien, contact the attorneys at Berger and Green at 412-661-1400 today.

Why Do Liens Occur?

A lien’s purpose is to protect the lender from a situation in which a borrower cannot or does not repay a loan. In many cases, it enables the borrower to seize property and sell it for compensation in the event of non-payment. Foreclosures and repossessions are both examples of liens against personal property because the borrower failed to keep up with payments on collateralized debt.

Private lenders, such as mortgage and auto finance companies, also make use of liens to lower their risk.

How Can a Lien Affect Me?

In personal injury law, certain third parties may place a lien on any financial settlement you receive from your case. In this case, the lien would repay a debt you owe to another party.

The most common occurrences of settlement liens involve healthcare providers and insurance carriers.

Many accident victims who suffer severe injuries, such as brain or spinal cord damage, are unable to pay for their initial medical treatment. Since it can take months or longer to negotiate a fair settlement or resolve a lawsuit, victims could face an extended waiting period before they can pay for the medical treatment they need.

In cases like this, healthcare providers will often agree to provide treatment immediately—with the expectation that they will receive payment when the victim receives a settlement. Our personal injury attorneys can help you negotiate a lien agreement like this to make sure you receive the care you need after an accident.  

Certain auto insurance carriers may also place a lien on your settlement after a car accident. Our lawyers can examine your policy to understand your repayment obligations.

How Can an Attorney Help Me With a Lien?

If you have had a lien placed on your settlement, an attorney from Berger and Green can help you determine how you can satisfy the lien as quickly and inexpensively as possible. If you are unable to pay for your medical care, we can negotiate a fair lien agreement so you can receive the treatment you need.

Our legal team has been helping clients with liens for over 40 years. Contact our office today at 412-661-1400 for a free consultation.