Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program
Quickie Consult 1174
Office Systems 102 OS
Preamble: Many of the issues I bring to you are very small, yet each issue is just that, an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then you will be able to build and more importantly, focus on the bigger issues...a larger practice and more family time. -Mark Studin 2006
"What is a UCC Lien and when to use it"
Hey, I'm Dr. Mark Studin and this quickie console is just me. You got me alone. No conversation today, with anyone else. But one of the most off answered ask questions that I've had to answer is when to file a UCC lien and the UCC stands for universal, commercial code. So, when do you file uniform commercial code. When do you file a UCC lien? And, that's something that it's not a lien with a lawyer against the case. It's a lien against your patient and real property when transfers have to occur. So, if you've ever purchased a home, you get a title report. There is a title company out there and you have to pay them. And they do title searches to see if you have clean title. Clean title means there is no encumbrances against your property. In other words, if you get a mortgage, a part of the agreement with the mortgage company who led you all this money is they get a lien that gives your house.
So they're paying for your house, but they actually, you get the right to live there and if you don't pay the mortgage, they're going to exercise that lien because you defaulted. And part of your agreement with them is they can take your house and you file with the government. You usually file in the County office of your government. And, you can't sell your house until the lien is satisfied. So, if you want to sell your house to a third party other than the mortgage company, you have to satisfy that mortgage first. So if you're moving from house A to house B and you have a mortgage on the first house and you're taking mortgage on the second house, when you get your mortgage for the second house and you sell your first house, you have to take the proceeds of the sale of the first house first satisfy that mortgage.
So then you have clean title. Um, and actually title companies will take the proceeds and they'll do the instant transfer from house A to house B, so you can get house B, and then you have clean title. So, what happens is in this particular scenario, and there's an attorney out in the Midwest, his name just flies out of my head. Um, but he's really good at explaining this and having it done. And here's what's good. If you file the lien on your patient against your balance, in other words, if you treat your patient and there's a $6,000 balance and you get the lien since day one with the patient, you don't file it cause you don't know how much it is. But when you're done with that case and you've MMI the patient and you see this as $6,000 balance, you could file a UCC lien, university uniform, commercial code lien with your County on top of the lien.
You send the patient lien against it, the case, with the lean you file with the lawyer, and you'll get paid 100%. The lawyer has no choice but to pay you. The lawyer by law cannot disperse any money and the less you get paid, but that puts you in first position. So you're going to win the battle. But what about the war? Here's the war. Lawyers don't have the right to negotiate with you anymore. That's taken off the table. You are going to win every single time and get paid 100% but don't ever expect to work with that lawyer again because that lawyer thinks you just screwed him. The lawyer said, you took the ability to meet and negotiate away from me. I'll never refer you a case again. You're screwing lawyers. There was one doctor in Texas who misunderstood these instructions and filed the lien against every single PI case he had.
He called me up a month later, lawyers were screaming at him, the nerve of you, you destroyed my Acacia. Destroy my practice. You took money away from the client. The client's pissed that you want pissed that you, I'll never work with you again. Lawyers are right, so there are times that you use ballooning. There are times. Now here's one-time patient comes in and treats it a personal injury case. They have no lawyer, zero represent. I'm going to do it myself. I don't care if it's your best friend. I don't care what your mother, father, brother, sister, I don't care if it's a lawyer who you want to refer to you. I don't care who it is. If someone has no legal representation, you're only guaranteed to get the portion of med pay that's covered. If you're a no-fault state, you're only guaranteed to get the Kneifel benefits.
That's it. Zero zip, nada, zilch. If there is no lawyer and the patient says, Oh, I'm going to pay you at the end, I'll get the money. Guess what? Santa Claus in the Easter bunny and come and also, no one. Hell no. You have to have them sign a UCC uniform commercial code. You follow with the state or through your County seat and at that point in time when the mug, when you're paid, you release bullying. Very simple. Another time I would use it is if I'm dealing with a lawyer who's the proverbial scumbag, okay? The guy who screws you every single time wants to pay you 40 cents on a dollar. You don't want to work with them. Any app, you know, your overhead is 50%, they're paying you 40, 50%. What do you want that patient? You don't want their patients file a UCC lien and you're going to get paid and you don't have to alert anybody, just file it.
You don't have to send notices out. They cannot distribute the money. If they do, they have lawyers distributed with a lien fall without doing a lien search. They broken the law. They must do a lien search part of distributing the money. Um, so that's really when you use it. If a patient doesn't have any representation or if you're dealing with the scumbag lawyer or, I had a situation yesterday in Florida where a doctor called me and said, you know, what do I do with this lawyer? Um, I have a $6,000 bill and we call once a month. And, you know, they never returned my phone call of what's the status of the case? So, I called three times today, can the lawyer please call me? Can the lawyer finally call me at the end of the screaming at me? Why are you harassing me?
Why are you calling me? And, he said, well, I'm just trying to find the status of the case. We have, we have a lien outstanding. And all we want to know is the disposition and ensure you have a copy of the lien. The lawyer screams at him, the nerve of you, you'll know when we settled the case. You're not entitled to know anything. I'm not giving you any information about anything. And when I settle the case, I'll give you what I feel you deserve and then we'll discuss it. Then a lawyer hung up on him. I said, just file a lien against the lawyer. I mean, you've already, I filed a UCC lien. You've already got a lien on a file with the lawyer. But this lawyer is, you know, confrontational. You know, you're never going to get paid your mat, you know, there's going to be an issue.
You don't want to work with this guy in the future, just file a UCC lien and never talk to him again. He can settle without you of getting paid because you're in first position. And when it comes to liens, the positions are incredibly important. Now here's the kicker again. I'm going to say it. If you file a lien with every single personal injury case and then some consultants recommend that it is the kiss of death to your practice, you will never have a lawyer work with you again ever. They will be pissed. There'll be angry. If I was a lawyer, I wouldn't work with you and I make sure everyone else knew about it, but there is a time and a place and it's a powerful tool and it's how to use the law to get paid in certain circumstances because for me, not getting paid is the biggest curse in the world.
I mean, that's just the bottom line. Okay? You get paid, you just, you do your work, you get paid, and if you don't get paid because you screwed up, I'm going to scream at you. I'm going to chump your head off because I want you to get paid. I ain't going to make any more money or any less money, but it pisses me off when you don't get paid. That's just the bottom line. Make sure your liens are perfected. You've sent them out. You have two forms of receipts that the attorneys reached them. Um, the reason you also call every month to find the disposition of the case, there are times that clients change or up your patients change lawyers, and you have to ensure that the new lawyer has a copy of your lien. The file is supposed to go with the patient, but I would also send the copy of the lien to the new lawyer. It's really that simple. So, listen, this is another piece of the puzzle. Thank you and have a fantastically wonderful, great day.