Personal Injury Litigation: Veterans Administration Lien

Today I was confronted with yet another disastrous lien scenario; the Veterans Administration had placed a $419,000.00 lien on my client’s case.  My client’s husband had died in an auto accident last year when they were rear-ended by another driver.  Although we are also pursuing a products liability case against the vehicle manufacturer, this case involves the insurance company for the negligent driver.

To make matters worse, the other driver only had minimum coverage, which in Missouri is only $25,000.00.  Fortunately, my client’s husband had underinsured motorist coverage on his insurance policy, so we were able to access another $50,000.00 for our client.  Still, this is chump change when someone has lost a loved one in an auto accident.

So what to do about this $419,000.00 lien when there is only $75,000.00 on the table?

This would have been a simple solution had this been a lien or bill from a medical facility, because in Missouri medical facilities do not have a right of reimbursement for wrongful death cases.  However, this VA lien is akin to a Medicare lien, the dreaded “super lien.”  Based on federal law, our firm is legally obligated to protect the Veterans Administration’s lien.

So, I went to work.  I called every person I could find at the Veterans Administration until I was able to reach the person that makes the decisions regarding VA liens.  I must say, they are far easier to work with than Medicare, and they are far more willing to reduce their liens.

Fortunately for my client, I was able to get the VA to reduce its lien by 95%!  This allowed my client to receive substantially more money than she would have otherwise.

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Tyson Mutrux