Thursday, February 20, 2014


                Recently, our office appeared in front of the New Hampshire Supreme Court to argue on the issue of post-judgment interest. The Case was titled “Estate of Jack Bergquist” and the brief we prepared can be read here. In that case, the creditor obtained a Judgment on the Defendant, and periodic payments were made. Over the course of the next eight (8) years, the Defendant made all of his regularly scheduled payments until his death. Unfortunately, a balance remained on the Judgment, and the creditor claimed not only the amount of the Judgment minus any payments, but interest accrued since the date the periodic payment order was made. The two main questions to be resolved were whether a Plaintiff is required to request post-judgment interest as part of the Judgment, and two, whether the order of periodic payments cuts off the interest from being accrued.

                However, while the decision is up to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, it outlines an issue many of our clients face. If a Judgment is obtained, and the Defendant takes a year to pay, how do I get the full benefit of those funds? Well, in the first instance, interest is awarded on Judgments from the date suit is filed until the Judgment is rendered under New Hampshire law. This is accounted for at the conclusion of litigation by requesting costs and interest be added. In all cases, it is important to assert your rights and not leave it up to the Court to assert them for you.

                The second problem is the one we first addressed: why should the Defendant get the benefit of not paying me, when the interest I could have earned is lost. This is a problem many Judgment creditors face, and it is important to talk to an attorney to find out how to assert your rights in the most complete and efficient way possible. This way any judgment creditor can be proactive in asserting their complete rights.

                If you need assistance with the legal process, or enforcement of Judgments, please feel free to contact the experienced lawyers of Parnell & McKay.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Personal Injury Series: Health Insurance Liens

                In almost all injury cases, when the plaintiff gets injured they seek healthcare almost immediately. Most times the person’s health insurance company pays the bills generated by an accident in the first instance. Sometimes, this is a private company like Blue Cross Blue Shield, and other times it is government provided insurance like Medicare or Medicaid. In each scenario, both types of insurance will have a “lien” or right of reimbursement from the settlement an injured party can get from a third party insurance policy.

                Most commonly, it is a private health insurer like BCBS that pays the bills. As part of all health insurance contracts, the health insurer reserves a “subrogation” right through the contract. This allows the health insurer to get paid back through a settlement or judgment any medical bills that they paid that are being accounted for in the settlement. The theory is that a person should not be able to be paid twice for the medical service, which would lead to a sort of “double recovery”. This is built into the health insurance contract and is only triggered by the collection of actual settlement or judgment dollars. If you review your own health insurance contract, you will find this provision likely under the title “subrogation”.

                In other situations, the health insurer is a governmental agency like Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare (military insurance). These insurers have a statutory right of reimbursement. This means that, like the private insurers above, they have a right to be reimbursed from any settlement or judgment the insured receives for bills they have paid. Since these are statutory rights of reimbursement, it becomes imperative to understand these liens and coordinate the benefits in order to avoid having the plaintiff be sued in the future. This is because these liens are “automatic” and many people do not understand that such liens exist. It is very important to identify all types of liens in each case, and coordinate paying them back prior to reaching a settlement.

                Negotiating these liens can often yield to lower reimbursement amounts, which can only benefit our clients. Having an experienced personal injury litigation attorney becomes very important for any potential plaintiff. If you were injured and need help getting back to normal, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Parnell and McKay  and put our 40 years of combined experience to use.