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Health Care Liens Paid Prior to Deduction of Attorney Fees and Costs from Plaintiff’s Award

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Who gets paid first, the health care provider or the attorneys? The Illinois Supreme Court has held that the health care providers or professionals come first. Recently, in McVey v. M.L.K. Enterprises, LLC, 2015 IL 118143, 32 N.E.3d 1112 the Illinois Supreme Court considered whether, under section 10 of the Health Care Services Lien Act (770 ILCS 23/10(a)) (“Act”), a lien by a health care professional or provider should be calculated based on a plaintiff’s total recovery or whether attorney fees and costs are deducted from the award prior to calculating the hospital’s lien. Under the Act, a health care provider that renders any services in the treatment, care or maintenance of an injured “shall have a lien upon all claims and causes of action of the injured person for the amount of the health care provider’s reasonable charges up to the date of payment of damages to the injured person.” 770 ILCS 23/10(a). The Court found there is no language in section 10 that would allow the calculation of a health care lien to be based upon the total “verdict, judgment, award, settlement or compromise” less attorney fees and costs. The Court held the statutory language in section 10 of the Act to be unambiguous and did not permit the deduction of attorney fees and costs prior to calculating the amount to be paid to any health care lienholder.

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