Ewbank & Hennigh, PLLC is just like lots of small businesses in Northwest Oklahoma. We are wandering and wondering through this new maze called COVID. Times are unique for sure. Here are some helpful links we’ve found with information and guidance on COVID resources from the FFCRA and the Cares Act:
You’d be surprised to learn that medical liens are fairly common. A lien is a demand for repayment that may be placed against your personal injury case. If you’re the victim and have filed a lawsuit to recover the cost of medical bills, your medical providers may be able to file a lien against your settlement proceeds.
So, what exactly is a lien?
There are several types; hospital liens, physicians liens, ambulance companies can even file liens… To put it simply, liens ensure doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers get paid for their services. These liens are similar to other types of liens in that they secure payment of a debt or obligation. An injury caused by a third party that requires treatment is subject to a medical lien if the provider doesn’t get paid for their services at the time of treatment. This happens any time a third party causes injury and medical bills and does not pay right away.
Here are several major types of liens you need to watch for:
Medical Provider and Hospital Liens
In some cases, hospitals are entitled to file a lien for repayment. Most often, this is conducted through a letter that you sign — stating you submit to a lien against your settlement, or because a statute in Oklahoma law allows a lien to be filed for their services.
From there, the hospital must follow several steps:
The lien must be filed in the county clerk’s office in the county where the hospital is located, and must be filed prior to payment of any money to the injured person. The lien requires the amount claimed, name and address of the hospital, name and address of the injured person, the date of the wreck of injury, and name of the liable party.
The hospital then must mail, by registered or certified mail, a copy of the notice to you and the person liable for causing your injuries. If the hospital doesn’t follow these two steps, their lien may not be enforceable.
Worker’s Compensation Liens
If you’ve been injured in a work-related accident, a lien may be issued if your medical bills and lost wages have been paid through your state’s fund. This lien includes the amount that worker’s compensation paid for your case.
Health Insurer Liens
A health insurer lien, which is contractual, comes from your health insurance policy. So, if your lawyer settles your cause, they can’t disburse any money to you until the health insurer has been reimbursed first.
If the government paid for any portion of your treatment, they have a right to get reimbursed if you recover money from the other party. Some programs like Medicare and Medicaid have different rights when it comes to liens, so it’s best to consult your lawyer.
Here’s a quick overview:
Medicare: This lien derives from federal law and is automatic. If your lawyer settles the case, money can’t be dispersed until Medicare is reimbursed out of the settlement fund.
Medicaid: If you receive health insurance through a state agency
If you are receiving health insurance benefits through a state agency, that is most likely a Medicaid claim. Federal and state law gives the state agency the same automatic lien on your case as Medicare has.
These government liens can have super priority, meaning they have much better protection, for the government, to get paid back. Mishandling these liens can have serious implications.
What Happens If You Ignore the Lien?
If there’s one thing you don’t want to do — it’s ignore a lien. You and your lawyer could get sued and consider your rights to future health insurance or benefits jeopardized. In some cases, ignoring a lien may even result in a criminal offense.
So, conclusion? Don’t do it. Trust us, calling a lawyer and navigating the process correctly is the wisest way to receive the best return.
Don’t Panic, Here’s What You Need to Remember.
Clients will call, upset because a hospital or doctor has filed a lien. Most often, this fear stems from the belief that the lien attaches to their property (like a home mortgage) and ruins their credit. Something to keep in mind is the lien only attaches to the proceeds of the settlement. It doesn’t attach to homes, cars, or other property. These liens don’t affect your credit. It simply is the amount owed that will come out of funds paid by the liable party.
This is a complicated nuisance to personal injury law. This is why it’s important to hire a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to walk you through the process. Most often, attorneys can even find ways to reduce or eliminate the lien.
So before you ignore it, give EHM a call. We’re always here for you when you (or someone else) wants to get out of line.
At Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC we help a lot of people through the difficult divorce process.
Divorce is not easy.
However, here we are in another legislative session, and, as in prior years, Oklahoma’s legislature is trying to make divorces more expensive. HB1277 is the newest attempt to drive costs up and pad divorce statistics in Oklahoma. Let’s face it. These bills are not designed to help Oklahomans. Instead, the intent is to artificially reduce the number of divorces reported in some report so our legislators can point to these bogus numbers about how their efforts are helping Oklahoma families. It’s the typical smoke and mirrors. Frankly, it’s BS.
This bill would require each party pay their own costs and attorney’s fees unless one party can prove the other party caused the divorce by through:
The wife being pregnant by another man at the time of marriage,
Habitual drunkenness or habitual substance abuse,
Gross neglect of duty,
Blah, Blah Blah…
Here’s how it works.
If the wife can prove the man was impotent (just to grab one), then she can get her attorney’s fees and costs awarded to her. Oh wait, there’s more. In addition to her fees, the Judge would be REQUIRED to only give the man 1/4 of the property of the marriage, and give the wife the other 3/4. Maybe the testosterone lobby is pushing this bill?
The bill also has a fun requirement that if the stated reason for the divorce is incompatibility, the family must attend counseling (for which they must pay), and the divorce cannot be finalized for 6 months. Great, we are going to artificially require people to suffer through another 6 months of a failed marriage. I am sure the kids will love that. I bet dinner time would be awkward…
Here is the text of the bill: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2017-18%20FLR/HFLR/HB1277%20HFLR.PDF
Listen, we make money on divorces. Most people probably think lawyers would jump at the chance to make more money on divorces. We don’t. This bill is bad for people. Our goal is to help our clients gets the best result for their situation. We cannot support anything that artificially makes divorces more difficult for our clients.
You can call your legislature, but it probably won’t do any good. Us voters didn’t know what we were voting on during the criminal reforms last year, so the legislature is actively working through legislation to override our vote. Likewise, our Legislature knows better how to handle our marriages than we do. Uhhmm, Mr. Representative, can I go to the bathroom now?
Estate planning ensures that your wishes are being followed, by the distribution of your assets. The most common avenues you’ll encounter are wills and trusts.
A will is a legal document, signed and witnessed, that communicates how your property and assets will be distributed after death. Revocable and subject to amendment during your lifetime, it also allows you to appoint a guardian for children under the age of 18.
A trust establishes how you distribute the assets after your death, providing lifetime and after-death property management. In order to fund a trust, you’re required to retitle your assets ownership over to the trust. The major differences between the two are cost and complexity. In this blog, our team at Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay will be sharing the pros and cons of wills vs. trusts.
Most often, wills are less expensive to set up. Less complex than trusts, retirees often choose them because it covers all their bases with an opportunity to amend when necessary. In a will, you won’t be required to manage it during your lifetime or designate a trustee to handle the affairs after your death. Though the chief benefits are simplicity and low costs, wills require probate and can run the risk of being challenged after your death.
Trusts allow greater control over the distribution of your assets. They can determine the timing or objectives in which your beneficiary receives them, along with helping avoid certain taxes. Trusts are a great way to prevent probate but typically come at a higher cost. You also must follow through on funding a trust and retitling the assets. Otherwise, the benefits can’t be realized.
Both wills and trusts are great vehicles for estate planning. Determining which one is right for you depends on your circumstances, family structure, and overall objectives. Here are questions to ask yourself if you’re still debating wills vs. trusts.
1. What are your state’s options for probate?
Many states offer expedited or more informal versions of probate under a certain dollar value threshold. If with some research, you find that probate won’t be a burdensome process, a will would be just fine.
2. Do you have younger children?
A major benefit of a trust is that it allows you to establish the specific provisions when entitling your assets. A trust allows you to exercise more control over the use of your property. This is a great option when you have multiple dependents.
3. Will you actively manage your plan?
If not, a living trust may not be ideal for you. A trust is only beneficial if assets are transferred into it. On the other hand, a will can be easily amended during your lifetime but holds the risk of being contested after death.
As you can see, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to estate planning. When weighing wills vs. trusts, each state offers different laws regarding each use. Just remember that one size doesn’t fit all.
Regardless of which one you choose, you should create your plan around you and your family’s needs. If you have any questions regarding wills, trusts, and estate planning, we encourage you to give us a call at (580) 234–4334. Our team is always here to help!
A Guide to Family Law
You’ve probably heard family law being tossed around a few times. And if not, then you’re probably familiar with divorce, child custody, and adoption. Family law encompasses a range of legal topics involving marriage and children. Lawyers in this area also draft prenuptial and postnuptial agreements along with litigate-related matters.
In contested family law scenarios, having a skilled attorney provides an advantage. They have the ability to identify hidden assets and income, present arguments in regards to child support, and take the case to trial if necessary. Without one, the party might not know exactly what they’re getting themselves into.
It can be tricky navigating family law, but Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC is here to give some pointers. Read on below to learn more and give us a call at (580) 234-4334 to share your case.
Divorce vs. Annulment
Both are court procedures that result in a dissolved marriage, but it can be easy getting the two mixed up occasionally. Unlike a divorce, an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened. The majority of dissolutions of marriage, though, are carried out in divorce. It should be noted that there is no set “time limit” for an annulment, and there are limited instances in which an annulment is appropriate.
Child Custody and Visitation
No matter the party, the court decides child custody and visitation right based on the “best interests of the child.” A party can increase their chances of larger custody by being active parents involved in their child’s school, medical issues and overall care. Other important factors include, but are not limited to: discipline, vocations, ability to pay and ability to co-parent.
The amount of money a parent is required to pay the spouse who retains primary custody of the child(ren). It is intended to benefit the child(ren) and most often helps pay for food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and education expenditures. The amount of child support is set by statute, and is determined by gross incomes of both parties and the number of minor children involved.
Also known as alimony, spousal support refers to the routine payments made from one spouse to the other during a separation or divorce. The purpose is to recognize the recipient’s contribution to the marriage, assisting the other in financial independence. The amount of spousal support is discretionary with the trial judge, so the amount is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Family Law Mediation
This scenario is used to resolve family disputes. A neutral, third-party helps the two smooth out their differences to reach an agreement, saving from taking a case to trial. Both parties (and their attorneys, if applicable) are involved in the mediation process.
Unsure about other Family Law Questions? Give us a call, we’re happy to help. (580) 234-4334.
I am an air show nerd. For the first few years of my life, my dad had airplanes. I was fortunate enough to get to fly with him to OSU football games, and, I am sure, other places. That early exposure to airplanes instilled in me a love for flying. While I was in college, I worked on Oceania Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, VA. I saw F-18’s, F-15’s, F-14’s, E-6’s, and others. My Oklahoma co-workers got really tired of hearing the roar of the jets doing practice carrier landings, coming in right above our heads. I was in awe every time.
In high school, I was a very driven kid. I was a state and national officer in a student organization, all-district in football, valedictorian, 4.0, high ACT score, blah, blah, blah. That commitment and involvement created probably the greatest opportunity I have ever squandered. Our Senator used one of his 2 yearly Air Force Academy appointments on me. Ask my parents, and they will tell you my drive to go to the Air Force was not just some new interest. It WAS what I was going to do. Despite my fancy looking resume, I lacked an important virtue, self-discipline. Oh, I passed all the physical tests, had good enough grades, and whatever else I needed. Still, a small part of me kept saying, “Do you really want some Yay-hoo telling you what to do for the next four, and then six years of your life?” I subconsciously started looking for an easy (or fun) way out.
I grew up an OSU fan. We went to tons of football and basketball games, and I always imagined I would follow my parents’ lead and go to OSU. Now, OSU and the Air Force Academy pulled me in different directions. After a little research, I learned I could go to OSU on an Air Force ROTC scholarship (read: easy way out). Perfect. So, I applied and received a scholarship that would have paid my tuition, room and board, and books. (If you do that math, that’s pretty much all of college.) This was in addition to the scholarships which were already paying me to go to school. After beds, books, meals, classes, fees, and all sports tickets were paid, I had left over money. This was before my biggest scholarship even kicked in.
You might say to yourself, “I didn’t know Drew was in the Air Force?” I wasn’t. Remember what I said about self-discipline? I did not have any. Once I made it to Stillwater, I figured out no one would make me go to class. No one would make me work out. I could party, sleep, and eat. So, that is what I did. I dropped out of ROTC, thereby losing that scholarship and my dream to fly. I lost most of my other scholarship because my grades weren’t where they were supposed to be. I threw away a lot of other people’s scholarship money on myself and my lack of discipline.
I say all that leave two important points. First, find a way to discipline yourself to commit to achieving your goals. In high school and college I never had to study. I aced high school and passed college without attending class. I figured any guy that can get a perfect score on the reading part of the ACT can just do whatever he wants. I never knew I didn’t know how to study until law school. Before entering law school, I was never lower than the 98% percentile in any standardized testing. Then, I took the LSAT (required to get into law school). My score was just pretty average. My dad said it best when he said all the other tests were graded against people, some of whom cared, and many of whom took the tests just because they had to. The LSAT was taken by a bunch of people who cared enough to be willing to suffer through law school. The stakes were raised. My first semester of law school I was married with a child who was less than a year old. I was scared to death I wouldn’t make it. So I studied and studied and studied. It was only then did I ever figure out how I learned.
Law school was a long way from where I set out in high school. It took law school for me to figure out just the studying part of self-disciple. The only way to commit to achieve your goals is to push yourself, hard.
My second point is this: Thanks to the men and women in our military. My high school class had an disproportionately high number of men and women serve our country in every branch of the military. Those people are my heroes. Our military members volunteer to commit their lives for some period of time to service of our country. They didn’t look to see if it was a just war, or if we should be in Iraq or Afghanistan, they don’t get an overriding royalty interest in any oil from overseas. They get paid little, and work hard. For Vance Air Force Base to plan and execute its 75th anniversary open house, and have the freakin’ Thunderbirds! with the budget they had, was an amazing task completed by volunteers. I watch the precision air demonstration team put on a heck of a show that they dedicated to our military men and women. I hope my childish and giddy love of the air show was the physical demonstration of my appreciation for what they do.
Here’s a couple of my favorite pics and videos.
Remember when Brian Williams almost caught malaria while voting for Ulysses S. Grant? It’s that Important!!
Tuesday June 28 is election day. Robert Frost said, “Thinking isn’t agreeing or disagreeing. That’s voting.” Don’t just think about voting. Don’t just talk about the problems we have. Educate yourself on the candidates, choose one that you believe will do the best job, and GO VOTE!
In Enid, we have the following elections (Even one with the same name. He must be cool!!):
UNITED STATES SENATOR – LIBERTARIAN
DAX EWBANK – https://www.libertydax.us/
ROBERT T. MURPHY – https://ballotpedia.org/Robert_Murphy_(Oklahoma)
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE – DISTRICT 03 – REPUBLICAN
FRANK D. LUCAS – http://www.frankdlucas.com/
DESIREE BROWN – https://votefordesiree.nationbuilder.com/
STATE SENATOR – DISTRICT 19 – REPUBLICAN
ROLAND PEDERSON – http://www.rolandforsenate.com/
ROSS VANHOOSER – http://www.rossforsenate19.com
GREG INGLE – http://www.ingle2016.com/
COUNTY COURT CLERK – REPUBLICAN
JANELLE SHARP – Look her up on Facebook.
SHARON VEACH – Look her up on Facebook.
COUNTY SHERIFF – REPUBLICAN
JERRY NILES – Look him up on Facebook.
CORY S. RINK – http://www.votecoryrink.com/
We’re Enid personal injury lawyers, probate lawyers, and divorce lawyers. We’re also dads, moms, husbands, wives, coaches, and volunteers. Take pride in your right to vote. Post a pic of your “I voted” sticker and we may give some swag away!
We have all heard stories about people being asked to pay their ticket right there in the trooper’s car, but it does not seem to have happened to anyone directly. Maybe that is because the highway patrol did not have card readers….until now. The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has contracted with a business to allow troopers to transfer money from many types of pre-paid cards. Of course, this is not to pay your ticket, but is being done to as part of seizing assets thought to be used in drug trafficking.
There’s only one small problem. Here’s a hint:
The people from whom the money is taken haven not been convicted of a crime, have not pled guilty to a crime, heck, they may not ever be charged with a crime. Still, the trooper on the side of the road using his “training and experience” determined these funds are for nefarious purposes, and so the money is taken. No judge, no jury, no attorney, no due process, just one person’s belief.
When a person’s assets are seized, the person has the obligation to prove their own assets were legitimate. The State does not have to prove the money bought or paid for drugs. The state does not have to do anything really other than file some paperwork formalities. Only after the State files the forfeiture paperwork, are they required to inform the person they intend to keep the money they already took. Then, the citizen has the obligation to come to court and prove why they should get their money back.
Now, we have corporations getting up front fees, and ongoing royalties on money “collected” by the State. Oklahoma citizens are accustomed to royalty payments. We like our oil, gas, wind, and other natural resource royalty payments coming in the mail. However, paying a royalty to an out-of-state corporation who sells widgets to help steal from citizens should be pretty offensive to us.
Certainly, seizing funds associated with drug trafficking may help stem the flow of drugs, although it doesn’t seem to have slowed anything down. However, the incentive to fund an agency is so strong it often takes priority of citizens’ rights.
If you’ve had money taken in Enid, Fairview, Woodward, or anywhere else in Northwest Oklahoma, remember we are Enid lawyers, with offices in Fairview, and Laverne, that can help.
Hold on to your wallets,
Your Enid, OK Lawyers.
(Look how sneaky we are! That’s us, Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC)
The team at Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay could not be more proud of our fellow partner, Andrew Ewbank, for winning the Journal Record’s Achievers Under 40 award! When we think of Andrew, we certainly think of his talent as a personal injury attorney and divorce lawyer. We also think how he fosters the utmost quality and character in his daily life. This is often demonstrated by his drive in helping build an incredible law practice here in Enid, Oklahoma as well as his desire to be better to those around him. You can see this from his past work of representing impoverished and abused children, his participation on numerous boards throughout his community, and his belief that people should always strive to learn and grow.
Congratulations, Andrew. You are incredibly deserving of this award!
Here is a link to full list of winners http://journalrecord.com/jr-achievers-under-40/
So, Draymond Green did not intend to hit Steven Adams? hmmm…We’re Thunder fans, so that makes us a little skeptical of his 107 second long explanation of what happened. http://www.sbnation.com/2016/5/23/11743938/draymond-green-kick-suspension-nuts-balls-steven-adams-thunder
The debate among NBA fans is whether this hit was accidental or intentional or accidentally intentional or intentionally accident or..never mind. You get the point. This debate happens every day in the practice of law. Every day, we work with people who are hurt and broken from car “accidents.” Are these really accidents, or has the insurance industry changed the way we talk? I don’t know for sure, but I know that one insurance commercial uses the term, “accident,” but the official form completed by investigating officers at the scene of a wreck is called the “Official Oklahoma Collision Report.”
Does the different word used mean anything to you? Does using one word over the other mean something different about the wreck/ We want to know what you think. Is one right and the other wrong? Do things sometimes just happen? Should Draymond Green be suspended? Comment on our Facebook page and we will give one random person this sweet little bluetooth speaker.
Your Enid personal injury attorneys.
That’s us! Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC