Dealing with ERISA liens on personal injury settlements

Posted By Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney || 4-Oct-2011

In Missouri and throughout the country ERISA Liens are becoming more complicated and more common in car accident and other personal injury settlements. Essentially, if you are injured in a car accident or have another actionable personal injury claim, and your health plan is an employer funded health plan and qualified under ERISA, the plan can sometimes circumvent State anti-subrogation laws.

What does this mean to a personal injury victim in Missouri? When your auto accident or other injury claim settles your injury lawyer needs to make sure: (1) if any qualified ERISA plan has a valid lien, and if so, (2) to minimize that lien to maximize your recovery.

Important issues an injury attorney must investigate before resolving a claimed ERISA Lien include making sure the ERISA Plan's contractual language actually even create a lien against the personal injury settlement; the current state of law regarding ERISA Plans and what it is in your jurisdiction; equitable defenses, including the make whole doctrine and the pro rate sharing of losses. For a detailed analysis of the effect ERISA plans have on personal injury cases and eight ways to deal with them see Eight Ways to Defeat or Minimize ERISA Claims, by Roger Barron. Eight-Ways-Article - ERISA PLANS.pdf