Medical Bills (Government and Private)

As we have seen in articles and blog postings on this website, the power of the court to approve a minor child’s settlement is mandatory and final to legally enforce the settlement of a minor child injury case, but the power of the court to reduce medical bills is quite limited. The court may determine what should be paid out of the minor child’s settlement, but if it is a private medical bill, and a dispute arises between the medical provider and the child’s parents, or guardian ad litem, then those disputes should be resolved under a separate lawsuit; this also includes attorney fee disputes, which should be resolved by a fee arbitration.

However, with government medical bills, there are special California statutory protections in place. For example, a California county may have a medical lien for the reasonable value of medical care furnished to an injured person or an injured child. At the same time, a California state department or county agency that furnished or supplied medical treatment services under the California Services Program has a subrogation right (legal interest) against any settlement relating to the medical condition for which the medical services were (or will be) supplied. Most of the relevant California statutes researched all specify that the county or other state agency are legally entitled to full reimbursement on their medical liens. Thus, the California Probate Code Section 3601 which gives court power or authority to determine the reasonable medical expenses to paid out of a minor child's settlement does not give the court power to actually reduce said medical liens.  Instead, your child's injury attorney has greater power to reduce the medical liens!  You can call me directly for more information on this interesting question at (619) 813-7955.

Legal Research for this FAQ:  129 Cal. Gov. Code Section 23004.1. 130 Cal. Health & Safety Code Section 123982. Justice for the Injured Child minor child’s settlement does not give the court power to actually reduce said medical liens.

Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer