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January 2021

Practitioners in Personal Injury Cases Continue to Face a Difficult Practical Choice When Dealing With Social Service Agencies

The U.S. Supreme Court seldom issues rulings that broadly affect state law in personal injury cases. But, one area in which it has done so in recent years has been the enforceability and collectability of Medicaid liens against personal injury recoveries. In two significant decision, Department of Social Services v. Ahlborn, 547 U.S. 268 (2006), and Wos v. E.M.A., 568 U.S. 627 (2013), the U.S. Supreme Court established that, if a personal injury plaintiff recovers only a small fraction of the value of his or her injuries in a lawsuit—due, for instance, to limited insurance coverage or difficulties proving liability—a Medicaid lien...

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