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Hartford – Waterbury 860 236-9350 ■ 203 756-6100 ■ 800 856-6400
Representing the Seriously Injured

Friday, April 18, 2014

In Personal Injury Cases, No Reduction in Medicaid Reimbursement for Attorney Fees

Connecticut Hartford Personal Injury Lawyer - Waterbury Farmington Glastonbury
State Gets Full Reimbursement
of Medicaid Injury Payments

State v. Peters, 946 A.2d 1231, 287 Conn. 82 (2008)

Mr. James Peters was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in Connecticut in 1997.  Through the Medicaid program, the State paid $63,000 of the medical bills for his injuries.  The State also gave him $7000 in cash assistance.

Mr. Peters hired a personal injury lawyer to represent him with his accident case and received an arbitration award of $747,000.  After paying attorneys fees and costs of $221,000, 30% of the total award, Mr. Peters was left with $526,000.  The State asked for reimbursement of the full $70,000 it had paid to Mr. Peters in Medicaid benefits and cash assistance.  He believed the amount paid back should be reduced by the 30% that was deducted from his award for attorneys fees and costs.

The State sued Mr. Peters for the full amount.  He argued that Medicare reduced the reimbursement amounts for bills related to personal injury accidents by the percentage of attorney fees and Medicaid should do the same.  The court disagreed.  He appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, which also disagreed.

The Supreme Court justices stated that nothing in either the Federal or State statutes regarding Medicaid requiring this kind of reduction.  While it could be argued that a reduction would be a fair thing to do, the Court said, it was to the Connecticut legislature to change the law.

             The legislature has not changed the law.  The result is that if someone in Connecticut needs help from the State to pay for medical bills related to a personal injury accident case, the State gets reimbursed in full, without any reduction for attorney fees.

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