It depends on whether you settled your San Diego County personal injury case prior to trial (private settlement), or your case was settled at trial by jury (or in California small claims court) in what is called a "judgment."  So the answer to this FAQ turns on whether it was it a "private settlement" or a court "judgment."

If you settled your case privately, then no, CMS cannot enforce their medical lien for reimbursement from your California personal injury settlement. However, interestingly, if your claim for bodily injuries was settled in court by a court entered judgment, then yes, you have to negotiate an amount back directly with San Diego County Medical Services, collectively known as CMS.  You should call me with any questions on this at (619) 813-7955.

Here is the California law on this FAQ:


Mares v. Baughman, 92 Cal.App.4th 672 (2001)  

By its unambiguous terms, Govt. Code § 23004.1 provides a county (CMS) with a lien only on judgments and not settlements. Thus, a CMS type lien imposed upon a settlement may be expunged on a motion. The court noted that the statute provided independent subrogation rights to public entities to assert their claims.



Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Auto Accident Attorney, and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Firm devoted to representing families of injured persons of automobile accidents. If you or someone you love, has been injured or killed in San Diego County, or Southern California, due to the negligence of another, please order your FREE copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information, insights, and secrets that will help you protect your legal rights.  It normally sells for $16.95; however, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.


Mark Blane
Connect with me
San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney