Jason Stephens | June 21, 2022 | Personal Injury
If you receive medical treatment at a hospital or from emergency medical services after a personal injury, the provider could have a medical lien on your settlement proceeds or jury verdict. Texas law allows hospitals to file a medical lien in a personal injury case. Therefore, it is important to understand medical liens in Texas and how they impact the money you receive for a personal injury claim.
What Is a Hospital Lien in Texas?
Chapter 55 of the Texas Property Code governs hospital and emergency medical service liens. The statute gives hospitals and emergency providers the right to collect their bills from any compensation you receive after a personal injury. Medical liens are allowed in all types of personal injury cases including, but not limited to:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability claims
- Bicycle accidents
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Construction accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Defective product claims
Hospital claims primarily reimburse a provider for emergency care immediately following an accident or other personal injury. For the hospital or emergency provider to have a lien, the person must have been admitted to the hospital or required emergency medical services within 72 hours after the accident or injury.
Furthermore, the accident that resulted in the person’s injury must have been caused by negligence and the care by emergency medical services must have been located in a county with less than 800,000 people.
Why Won’t Hospitals File Claims with Health Insurance Providers After an Accident?
The hospital may refuse to bill your health insurance provider for bills related to a personal injury claim. If the hospital bills your health insurance company, it might receive a discounted payment. Most hospitals have contracts with major health insurance providers that reduce the amount the hospital receives for medical services.
However, if the hospital files a medical lien on your personal injury proceeds, it can charge the full amount for services. Therefore, the hospital may receive more money by filing a medical lien than by billing health insurance.
Is There a Cap on Hospital Liens in Personal Injury Cases?
The law limits how much a hospital or emergency medical services provider can claim in a personal injury case. The cap is the lesser of the cost of medical care during the 100 days following the accident or 50 percent of the total compensation received by the accident victim.
Other Medical Providers May Have a Lien on Personal Injury Compensation
Your other medical providers may claim a portion of your personal injury settlement. Texas law permits medical providers to assert a lien on personal injury proceeds if they treat an uninsured patient.
If you sign a medical lien, that lien must be paid before you receive any funds from the settlement. Some medical providers require patients to sign an agreement or medical lien to continue treatment. The lien or agreement states that the patient agrees to pay the medical provider from the proceeds of a personal injury case before taking any money for themselves.
Can You Negotiate Medical Liens in Texas?
Yes, you can negotiate the payment to a medical provider for their lien. An experienced personal injury lawyer negotiates with each medical provider to accept less than they are owed for medical liens. The goal is to put as much money in your pocket as possible.
Your injury lawyer also reviews each medical lien filed in your personal injury case. If the medical lien does not comply with the statutory requirements, your lawyer may object to the medical lien.
Subrogation Claims in a Personal Injury Case
Many insurance policies contain a subrogation clause. Subrogation claims give the health insurance company the right to reimbursement for any medical bills it paid related to your personal injury case.
Therefore, suppose your health insurance provider paid $25,000 in medical bills from a car accident. It can demand reimbursement of the $25,000 from your personal injury settlement.
As with medical liens, your lawyer can negotiate the payoff of subrogation claims. A health insurance company may agree to accept less to satisfy its subrogation claim, especially if you will receive very little for your claim because of medical liens and subrogation claims.
Medicaid and Medicare can also file claims against personal injury settlements. These claims may be filed several years after an accident settlement. Therefore, a portion of your personal injury settlement may be held in trust to pay medical liens filed against your personal injury settlement.
Having sound legal advice and representation can increase the amount of money you put in your pocket from your personal injury settlement proceeds. A lawyer understands the law and fights to minimize the impact of medical liens on your personal injury case.
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