Jason Stephens | March 2, 2023 | Personal Injury
If you have recently received notice of a hospital lien, you may not know exactly what this is and what your rights are. Do you have to pay the lien? What if you don’t recover any compensation from a personal injury case? Are you still responsible for paying the lien?
Learn the answers to these questions and more in the sections to follow.
What Is a Hospital Lien?
If you are wondering what a hospital lien is or what a medical lien is, you are not alone. These limited-use liens are confusing to many people. A lien is not a medical term but rather a legal one. A lien is a legal claim against someone else’s property.
Under Texas law, a hospital lien automatically attaches to a personal injury award the victim might receive if the victim received hospital services for injuries they sustained in an accident caused by another person’s negligence. Similarly, the provider of emergency services is also entitled to an automatic lien for the value of services they provided.
Medical expenses are often significant. Accident victims may not have the money to pay these expenses upfront, and insurance companies may deny payment if another party is responsible for them. Hospitals and emergency medical service providers may provide the services, incur treatment costs upfront, and seek reimbursement later for a portion of the personal injury settlement or award.
Other medical providers may also use liens as a way to increase the likelihood that they will receive payment for the services they provide, but these medical liens do not immediately apply.
When Does a Hospital Lien Apply?
A hospital lien applies to care related to medical services provided to a person who was injured by the negligence of another. For the lien to apply, the victim must be admitted to the hospital within 72 hours of the accident. A lien also applies to the provider of emergency medical services if the provider had a reasonable belief the person needed immediate medical care, provided such care due to an accident caused by the negligence of another, and the care is sought within 72 hours of the accident.
Hospital liens do not apply in all situations. For example, hospital liens do not apply against a workers’ compensation award or a person’s uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
How Much Is the Hospital Lien?
Hospital liens in Texas apply to the first 100 days of emergency medical care the hospital provides to the victim. They are equal to the reasonable and necessary charges for the services rendered.
The lien for emergency medical services is limited to $1,000 and covers the physician’s charges for the first seven days of emergency medical treatment.
How Do I Know Whether I Have a Medical Lien?
Under Texas law, medical service providers must provide you with written notice of the lien. The hospital or emergency medical services provider must provide you with this notice within five days after the notice of lien is recorded. Liens are recorded with the county records, so you can contact the court clerk to find out if there are any liens in your name. Medical service providers may also require you to sign a form indicating you are aware of the lien when you receive services.
If there is a person at a higher level, they have priority in filing the claim. Only one wrongful death action can be brought against a defendant.
How To Have a Hospital Lien Removed
The hospital is responsible for filing a release of lien form with the court to show the lien was satisfied. The hospital does this shortly after it receives payment for the services it rendered, either in full or as negotiated with your lawyer.
If the hospital lien is defective because the hospital tried to bill for unreasonable charges or excessive expenses, it failed to provide notice as required by Texas law, or it did not properly record the lien, your personal injury lawyer can try to show the lien is invalid and have it removed.
How Do Medical Liens Affect My Personal Injury Case?
Medical liens likely will not affect the process of your personal injury claim. However, they may come into play when determining the financial compensation you are entitled to after your case settles. You should also consider the cost of these liens when negotiating a settlement figure. Medical liens must generally be paid before you can recover your portion of the personal injury award.
Dealing with medical liens is only one of many ways a personal injury lawyer can help you. Reach out to an attorney today if you’ve been injured in an accident and require legal advice.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107