(1) As used in this section, “vocational rehabilitation and related services” means any services that are provided or paid for by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation of the Department of Education.
(2) Third-party coverage for vocational rehabilitation and related services is primary coverage.
(3) An applicant for or recipient of any vocational rehabilitation and related services must inform the division of any rights she or he has to third-party payments for such services, and the division shall be subrogated to her or his rights to such third-party payments. The division may recover directly from:
(a) Any third party liable to make a benefit payment to the provider of the recipient’s vocational rehabilitation and related services or to the recipient under the terms of any contract, settlement, or award;
(b) The recipient, if she or he has received third-party payment for vocational rehabilitation and related services provided to her or him; or
(c) The provider of the recipient’s vocational rehabilitation and related services if third-party payment for such services has been recovered by the provider.
(4) An applicant for or a recipient of vocational rehabilitation and related services is deemed to have assigned to the division her or his rights to any payments for such services from a third party and to have authorized the division to release information with respect to such services for the sole purpose of obtaining reimbursement.
(5) The division may, in order to enforce its subrogation rights under this section, institute, intervene in, or join any legal proceeding against a third party against whom recovery rights arise. Action taken by the division does not preclude the recipient’s recovery for that portion of her or his damages not subrogated to the division, and action taken by the recipient does not prejudice the subrogation rights of the division.
(6) When the division provides, pays for, or becomes liable for vocational rehabilitation and related services, it has a lien for the amount of such services upon all causes of action which accrue to the recipient or to her or his legal representatives as a result of sickness, injury, disease, disability, or death, due to the liability of a third party which necessitated the services. To perfect such lien, a notice of lien must be filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the recipient’s county of residence. The notice of lien must contain the name and address of the person to whom vocational rehabilitation and related services were furnished and the name, address, and telephone number of a person at the division from whom information regarding the lien can be obtained. The division’s failure to file a notice of lien shall not affect the division’s other rights provided in this section. Any notice of lien filed as provided under this subsection shall be valid for a period of 5 years after filing, and may be extended for an additional period of 5 years by filing a new notice of lien at any time prior to the expiration of the original notice of lien.
(7) In recovering any payments in accordance with this section, the division may make appropriate settlements.
(8) The division shall adopt rules to implement this section.