44-50. Receiving person charged with duty of retaining funds for purpose stated; evidence; attorney's fees; charges.

A lien as provided under G.S. 44-49 shall also attach upon all funds paid to any person in compensation for or settlement of the injuries, whether in litigation or otherwise. If an attorney represents the injured person, the lien is perfected as provided under G.S. 44-49. Before their disbursement, any person that receives those funds shall retain out of any recovery or any compensation so received a sufficient amount to pay the just and bona fide claims for any drugs, medical supplies, ambulance services, services rendered by any physician, dentist, nurse, or hospital, or hospital attention or services, after having received notice of those claims. Evidence as to the amount of the charges shall be competent in the trial of the action. Subject to G.S. 135-48.37, the priority of a lien held by the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees shall be superior to all nongovernmental liens and rights, whether such liens and rights are prior or subsequent to the lien. Nothing in this section or in G.S. 44-49 shall be construed so as to interfere with any amount due for attorney's services. The lien provided for shall in no case, exclusive of attorneys' fees, exceed fifty percent (50%) of the amount of damages recovered. Except as provided in G.S. 44-51, a client's instructions for the disbursement of settlement or judgment proceeds are not binding on the disbursing attorney to the extent that the instructions conflict with the requirements of this Article. (1935, c. 121, s. 2; 1959, c. 800, s. 2; 1969, c. 450, s. 2; 1995, c. 538, s. 6(b); 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 674, s. 3; 2001-377, s. 2; 2018-52, s. 5(c).)