A Hospital Lien is used to recover the medical bills of your hospital stay due to injuries caused by the negligence of another party. It allows hospital or emergency service providers to claim payment for their services out of the money received by the injured person in a personal injury claim from the party-at fault.
It is a right given by the statute that attaches automatically and is mostly issued as a written notice of hospital lien. A hospital lien can only be applied in an emergency where necessary medical care was provided within 72 hours of the injury or accident.
In What Situations Can I Get A Hospital Lien Notice?
You can receive a hospital lien notice if you get treated in a hospital for an injury that was caused by the negligence of another party. For example, if you were involved in a car accident, or got injured due to faulty equipment or machinery of another party. In short, if the treating hospital suspects that you got injured due to someone else’s fault they will file a lien.
The lien will not let the at-fault party settle the personal injury claim without paying the hospital bills. The lien notice is sent to the injured person’s lawyer and the at-fault party’s insurance company. The lien is filed in the County records and failure to pay their claim can result in suing those persons directly.
When Does a Hospital Lien Attach?
In the state of Texas, the hospital lien is attached under the “Texas Property Code 55.002(a). The hospital is automatically granted the lien if you get injured due to negligence of another person which causes you to file a personal injury claim against them to recover damages. The hospital lien claim will attach to your claim immediately.
The lien will attach, only when the patient gets admitted to the hospital for emergency medical services within 72 hours of the accident that caused the injury.
The medical service provider needs to have a fair reason to treat the person with immediate medical care and provide it in accordance. Emergency medical services, in simpler terms, mean the services provided to respond to an individual who needs immediate medical attention to prevent aggravation of illness/injury or to prevent death.
The hospital that admitted the patient initially and the hospital to which the patient got transferred for further treatment, will be included in the lien. Similarly, emergency services providers in counties with less than 800,000 residents, will be granted lien. The lien will get attached and the provider will issue the notice by filing it with the county.
A Hospital Lien Is Attached To What?
The hospital lien will be attached to the personal injury claim filed by you against the negligent party as well as the settlement/judgment of the claim. The lien cannot be attached to the compensation benefits of the injured person or the victim’s liability insurance policy.
This means that the injured persons uninsured or under-insured insurance policy cannot be attached with the lien claim because their insurance is not public liability insurance.
The Hospital Lien Covers What Treatment Cost?
The first 100 days of emergency medical treatment provided by the admitting hospital or the hospital to which the patient is transferred for care are covered by the hospital lien claim.
The hospital needs to ensure that the amount claimed in the hospital lien is reasonable and necessary for the services provided. For example, the EMS liens are limited to $1000 and cover the first seven days of the emergency care
How The Lien Is Perfected?
The hospital needs to perfect the lien before it gets enforced. The hospital billing section will have to send written notice to the lien patient and also file the notice in the local County records by informing the County clerk.
The hospital also needs to file the notice before the personal injury claim is settled between the lien patient and the negligent party. For example, if a car accident victim is paid by the insurance company before the lien is filed, the hospital will have no claim against the insurance company.
Who is Affected by a Hospital Lien?
After the lien is perfected by the hospital, the parties involved get the notices according to the law. The insurance company of the negligent party paying the settlement and your lawyer handling the settlement case must check the County records to see if the hospital or the emergency medical service provider has filed a lien.
If they fail to locate the lien, the hospital or EMS provider can file a lawsuit against them for paying out without settling the lien. It is important for your personal injury lawyer to locate the lien and negotiate a lien with the hospital or you can be sued by them.
Do I Have To Pay The Hospital If No Lien Is Filed?
Even if the hospital does not file the lien, you are obliged to pay the hospital bills. If you fail to do so the hospital can sue you within a period of four years from the date the services were provided.
The law for hospital lien in Texas allows extended recourse to the hospital if the negligent individual, his insurance company, representatives, and your legal attorney, fail to honor the lien after it is perfected and the notice is received.
Should I Contact My Lawyer If I Receive a Lien Notice In My Mail?
If you were recently involved in an accident and received medical care for the injuries caused by the negligence of another person, you should inform your personal injury lawyer. If you do not have an attorney then you should contact a professional personal injury attorney who also handles hospital lien claims.
The Hadi Law Firm offers award-winning services in the personal injury field and also handles cases of hospital lien in Texas. They will ensure that the hospital lien claim is negotiated properly and the settlement received by you also covers the amount claimed in the hospital lien.