A man was born with a chromosomal condition and began receiving medical assistance from the State’s social services. He subsequently suffered an injury during his corrective spinal injury surgery, which resulted in his partial paralysis. A medical malpractice action was commenced by the man’s sister on his behalf against the hospital and several doctors where the surgery was performed. The man continued to receive medical assistance from the State’s social services and they filed a lien for recovery from any award made in the medical malpractice action, for such assistance for which the third-party offender was found to be liable.
Consequently, the parties to the medical malpractice action reached a settlement. Based upon the proposed settlement, the state’s social service agreed to accept the sum of $102,423.56 to settle the lien. The amount necessary to settle the medical claim was premised on a letter from the social services stating that it would accept that amount on the lien against the proceeds of the personal injury lawsuit, based on the proposed settlement of the lawsuit for the sum of $1,600,000. The letter further provided that the state’s social services reserved the right to collect any unpaid balance of the lien if the man reached a further settlement that provided additional proceeds or if he should receive funds from another source such as the lottery.
The settlement of the medical malpractice action was approved by the Supreme Court with the direction that payment made to the state’s social service in the amount of $102,423.56, in full satisfaction of the lien to the date of the order.