Medical providers have inquired about the basis for reduced payments for medical services due to “Lockhart” liens against the medical provider’s fees for those services.
The basis for Lockhart liens is a decision by the Montana Supreme Court in Lockhart v. New Hampshire Ins. Co., et al, 295 Mont 4677, 984 P.2d 744 (1999). In that case, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court by holding that: “[a] proper and timely retainer agreement was filed in these cases and thus, an attorney fee lien has attached as a matter of law to all medical benefits paid.” Lockhart, 295 Mont. ¶26. As such, the insurer must honor the lien and remit to the attorney the amount of the lien that attached to the medical benefits. In the case of workers’ compensation insurance benefits, the lien amount will be 20% of the fee schedule amount unless the matter went to the Workers’ Compensation Court or Montana Supreme Court in which case the attorney lien will be 25% of the fee schedule amount.