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Can Lawfirm disburse funds from Wrongful Death Settlements that involve multiple companies, if only 1 Defendant filed a lien with Medicare?

1 Answers. Asked on Feb 24th, 2012 on Wrongful Death - California
More details to this question:
We received a total award in excess of 200,000. 10 Defendants paid an average of 20,000. ONE Defendant reported to Medicare, that There was medical bills totaling 4,000. The lien amount is apparently 20,000. Can the Other 180,000 be disbursed. Or is Lawfirm required to Hold ALL disbursements until Medicare resolves the single issue? Settlements were received in May 2011.
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Brian Doster Chase at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP
Licenced in CA
Answered on Apr 27th, 2012 at 12:55 PM

The obligation to repay Medicare is the beneficiary/plaintiff's obligation. Medicare has a lien against all recoveries that a beneficiary has obtained where Medicare has made "conditional payments" for the medical bills incurred for treatment needed for the injuries suffered in the incident. So, yes, it sounds to me that Medicare's lien touches the recoveries received from all defendants in your case, 

What gets disbursed depends on the terms of the settlement agreements and the law. At a minimum your attorney would need to hold back enough money to pay the Medicare lien until Medicare presents a Final Demand Letter, and then pays that net demand.

Speak to your attorney about what he must hold back and what can be disbursed.

Brian Chase, 
BISNAR|CHASE, Personal Injury Attorneys. 

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Wrongful Death
When a person dies as a result of the negligent, reckless or intentional actions of another person or a company, then surviving family members may be entitled to compensation under state wrongful death laws. If your family member has died as a result of a car crash, medical malpractice, murder, defective product or other kind of accident, consult with wrongful death attorneys or personal injury lawyers immediately. The law firm can determine who is entitled to file a lawsuit and can calculate how much survivors deserve in compensation (known as "damages"). Your lawyers can file the lawsuit and represent the family at trial, working to ensure that survivors collect the compensation they deserve.
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