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Answers to frequently asked questions about lien filing

Topics covered in this FAQ include:

The basics
Filing an initial lien and paying the filing fee

About the basics

Q. Who has to pay lien filing fees?

A. On or after Jan. 1, 2013, any initial lien for reasonable medical expenses incurred by or on behalf of the injured employee except disputes subject to independent medical review (IMR) or independent bill review (IBR) is required to pay an initial lien filing fee of $150.00.

An initial lien for medical treatment expenses includes transportation services, copy services and interpreter services incurred in connection with medical treatment.

Q. Are any medical treatment expenses incurred by or on behalf of the injured employee exempt from the lien filing fee?

A. Yes.  Any medical treatment expense lien filed by the following are exempt from the lien filing fee:

  • A Health care service plan under Health and Safety Code section 1349
  • A Group disability insurer under Insurance Code, section 10270.5
  • A Self-insured employee welfare benefit plan under Insurance Code section 10121
  • A Taft-Hartley health and welfare fund
  • A Publicly funded program providing medical benefits on a nonindustrial basis.

Q. Are non-medical treatment lien claims required to pay lien filing fees?

A. No. The following types of liens do not have to pay the initial lien filing fee:

  • Attorney fees
  • Living expenses
  • Burial expenses
  • Spousal and child support expenses
  • Employment Development Department liens
  • Victims of Crime liens

Q. Do I still have to pay a lien activation fee for medical treatment expense lien claims filed prior to Jan. 1, 2013, prior to filing a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed (DOR) to request a lien conference or prior to appearing at a lien conference on or before Jan. 1, 2014?

A. In compliance with a preliminary injunction by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in the matter of Angelotti Chiropractic, Inc., et al. v. Baker, et al., the Division of Workers’ Compensation will no longer collect lien activation fees as of Nov. 19, 2013.

Lien claimants whose liens were subject to the activation fee requirement will not be required to pay the $100 fee in order to appear at a hearing or file a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed (DOR) regarding a lien.

DWC is reconfiguring its computer systems to facilitate the filing of DORs on lien claims. The fee for filing liens remains in effect. Only the lien activation fee is affected by U.S. Judge George H. Wu’s ruling.

Unless the preliminary injuntion is reversed, the Jan. 1, 2014 deadline to pay activation fees will not be enforced. Further updates on changes will be posted on the DWC SB 863 pages.

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About filing an initial lien and paying the filing fee

Q. How much is the initial lien filing fee?

A. The fee for filing an initial lien is $150.00.

Q. How do I file an initial lien for medical treatment expenses and pay the lien filing fee?

A. All initial medical treatment lien claims subject to the lien filing fee must be filed electronically by one of two methods: E-Form or Jet File.

Q. Can I still use the paper OCR form to file a lien claim?

A. The paper OCR lien form can still be used to file a lien on or after Jan. 1, 2013 if the lien is a non-medical treatment expense lien or it is exempt from payment of the lien filing fee.

Q. Am I required to pay the initial lien filing fee for the same medical treatment expense in each case filed by the injured employee?

A. No.  If the same medical treatment expense claim by the same provider is filed in two or more cases by the same injured employee, only one lien filing fee of $150.00 is required to be paid. 

Q. Are there any consequences if I fail to pay the initial lien filing fee?

A. Yes. Failure to pay the initial lien filing fee will result in an invalid lien which will not be considered filed.

Q. How do I prove that I paid the lien filing fee?

A. Print and save the confirmation of payment you receive when you pay the lien filing fee. Proof of payment of the lien filing fee can be confirmed through the public search tool on the DWC website.

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November 2013