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Liens Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Liens. For more information about liens see the pages on Wikipedia.


See Va. Code § 8.01-37.1 allowing for recovery for medical services provided by United States.

See Va. Code § 8.01-66.9, which creates liens for Commonwealth for certain personal injury actions.

See Va. Code § 8.01-66.2 et seq. as to liens for medical and hospital expenses.

See Va. Code §§ 43-31 and 43-32 as to liens of innkeepers and as to lien of garage, etc.

See Va. Code § 43-63 as to liens of dry cleaners.


2002 Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Fisher, 263 Va. 78, 557 S.E.2d 209.

Wrongful death action. Decedent was killed in the course of employment. Workers’ compensation claim for death benefits was filed on her behalf. In addition, third-party action was filed against railroad that was deemed to be responsible for death. Action against railroad was eventually settled. Workers’ compensation carrier sought to intervene to protect its lien. One of the statutory dependents under the Wrongful Death Act renounced her entitlement to death benefits under the wrongful death settlement and based upon that, trial court denied reimbursement to workers’ compensation carrier for benefits paid to that dependent. Supreme court concluded that actual receipt of benefits under the Wrongful Death Act is not condition precedent to workers’ compensation carrier’s right to assert and protect its lien. In this instance, Liberty Mutual was entitled to the full protection of its lien and trial court had no discretion to reduce that lien.

2001 Commonwealth v. Huynh, 262 Va. 165, 546 S.E.2d 677.

When Commonwealth pays for and provides medical services for indigent person necessitated by tortious injury, a lien is created in favor of Commonwealth for amount of those services on any recovery from tortfeasor. In this case, claim by Commonwealth was that plaintiff in medical malpractice action had not made good faith effort to negotiate, compromise, and thus, was not entitled to petition trial court for reduction. Issue was not properly preserved for appeal as Commonwealth did not assign error to trial court’s failure to deny plaintiff’s motion to reduce lien on this ground. In this case, however, trial court could not completely exclude Commonwealth in order to benefit injured party or her attorneys and thus, court had to allow some portion of recovery to Commonwealth. The ultimate amount that will be paid to satisfy lien is up to discretion of trial court including the setting of attorneys’ fees.

2001 Jeneary v. Commonwealth, 262 Va. 418, 551 S.E.2d 321.

Wrongful death action settled with uninsured motorist carrier. Uninsured employer’s fund had no right of subrogation since uninsured motorist’s carrier is not deemed to be “other party” for purposes of subrogation by uninsured employer’s fund. Likewise, health insurance provider had no right to file suit to collect payment out of this civil action since under the Workers’ Compensation Act, they were obliged to wait for the conclusion of the workers’ compensation claim which at this point, had not been concluded.

1990 University of Virginia v. Harris, 239 Va. 119, 387 S.E.2d 772.

Plaintiff injured in auto accident. Defendant’s policy limits $50,000. University obtained judgment against plaintiff for hospital bill. Trial court thereafter approved settlement of case and reduced lien. Thereafter, University not allowed to garnish plaintiff’s settlement proceeds.

1990 Commonwealth v. Lee, 239 Va. 114, 387 S.E.2d 770.

Lien under Va. Code § 8.01-66.9 applies to infant settlement.

1990 Commonwealth v. Smith, 239 Va. 108, 387 S.E.2d 767.

Infant seriously injured in auto accident. Defendant had policy limits of $100,000. Plaintiff asked trial court to reduce Commonwealth’s lien so that significant amount of settlement would go to plaintiff. Trial court reduced lien of Commonwealth, reduced attorney fee, and directed $60,000 be put into interest bearing account for plaintiff. Although offer of $100,000 initially made more than 72 hours before trial, it became acceptable within this period due to court’s reduction of lien.

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Liens Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

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