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The Hadi Law Firm Blog


1Aug 2020

WHAT IS A HOSPITAL LIEN?


Lien – is a legal right that guarantees an underlying obligation

Hospitals and other emergency medical providers in Texas are required to provide treatment for accident victims. They are protected by the state, by allowing them to file a hospital lien for medical bills. The lien gives them the right to claim payment for rendered services from the money recovered by the injured person in a personal injury claim against someone who caused the injury. If you were recently in an accident and were injured due to another person’s negligence, you will probably get a bill in the mail.

It is common for health insurance companies to refuse to pay for emergency medical treatment when the injury was caused by a negligent party with no insurance. While in some cases, insurance companies will not pay your settlement until they are satisfied the hospital lien has been resolved, which can result in huge delays before you receive your money.

EXCEPTIONS


  • It only applies the first 100 days of the injured individual’s hospitalization.
  • The physician can request the hospital to act on their behalf to collect the lien for all necessary medical charges for the first seven days of hospitalization.
  • The lien only applies if you are treated in a hospital or emergency medical services within 72 hours of the incident.
  • The hospital should only collect money from a third party, and not your own insurance company.
  • The lien cannot be attached to the person at fault for the injury. It’s only attached to the person who claims compensation from the injury you are involved with.
  • It is important for the hospital to file the lien before the insurance company pays the injured party. Otherwise, the hospital will lose a claim against the insurance company.
  • You are still obliged to pay your hospital bills even without a lien.

How TO VALIDATE HOSPITAL LIENS?

The hospital must comply with all requirements for filing a lien. First, they shall send notice of the claim by filing it with county records.

After a hospital or provider receives notice from the county clerk that the lien is filed, the hospital has five business days to send a written notice to the injured individual or the legal representative of the injured individual by mail to the last known address.

The injured party will need to check with the county clerk to see if any notice of a hospital lien has been filed. If they lose track of the lien, the hospital will have grounds against all parties for not settling the lien first.

If you can prove the amount charged to you are higher than the actual rate of the hospital, you can challenge the hospital lien and have it reduced. Suing the hospital and proving their bills are unreasonable can invalidate the hospital lien.

If the provider fails to follow these guidelines, the validity of the lien can be called into question.

HOW TO DEAL WITH HOSPITAL LIENS?


NEGOTIATE

The key to negotiating the maximum possible reduction on the charges is to have a seasoned attorney who knows the law and the strategies in battling Texas hospital liens.

Depending on the amount of liability insurance coverage available and the amount of the hospital lien, most hospitals are willing to negotiate down on the amount they recover from the liability insurance proceeds and sometimes, the hospital may reduce their charges in exchange for prompt payment.

USE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE

If you have health insurance, you may seek their assistance in reducing the hospital’s bill and the lien.

Always ask for legal counsel, explore your options to ensure that your personal injury claim is processed as fair as possible.

If you find the hospital bills to be reasonable and you are left with enough settlement money that covers all of your damages, you can either pay the bill or instruct the insurance company to pay the bill out of the settlement.

24Jul 2020

The term “good samaritan” originates from a parable from the Bible. The story is about a man which they call a Samaritan (resident of Samaria), who stopped to help a man who had been robbed and injured while even the Priest and the Levite passed by and simply ignored him. It basically tells us a lesson on how we should “love our neighbors as we love ourselves”.

The Texas Good Samaritan law protects good Samaritans from costly claims of negligence in the event that they provided emergency assistance to another individual involved in an emergency situation. This law also promotes an overall helpful disposition for the citizens to care and protect one another from further injury.

Good samaritans have the best intentions when responding to an accident or emergency situation. Unfortunately in some high-stakes and high-pressure situations these individuals may make some mistakes due to confusion, panic and the survival mindset. The Good Samaritan Law protects these individuals when these unfortunate mistakes are made.

The Good Samaritan Law applies to civilians, first responders and unlicensed medical personnel who act in good faith.

The Good Samaritan Law does not protect individuals whose motive was only to help someone with the intention of receiving a reward.

Car accidents are a common example. A bystander at the accident scene accident may try to help the driver by pulling him out of a totaled vehicle and may injure him in the process of removing him from the vehicle.

Unfortunately, it’s not unusual to sustain additional injuries during this process. Without the Good Samaritan law, the driver might sue the good samaritan for additional injuries or negligence, even if the person was only trying to help.

Another example could be an injured driver in a single-car accident who will accuse a Good Samaritan of causing their injury. This can happen when he needs someone to blame so he can get compensation for his injury, even if he is fully aware that the accident is his own fault.

Texas Good Samaritan Law Exceptions


Willful or Wanton Conduct

This protection does not apply if the person was negligent or reckless when offering aid in any kind of emergency situation.

Expectation of Remuneration

This protection does not apply if the person or medical professional offered service while expecting to be paid or solicited business at the scene of the emergency.

Medical Professionals

This protection does not apply to a person who works in the care industry, the hospital or the emergency room.

Including, a treating physician or admitting physician of a patient with a health-care liability claim.

Cause of Harm

This protection does not extend to a person who was responsible for causing an emergency situation. For example, if a driver crashed with another vehicle and then rendered aid to the other driver, he or she could still be held liable for damages that resulted from lending aid.

Good Samaritan 911 call

A fraudulent or misleading call to the police can potentially lead a person to civil liability.

Good Samaritan Law for CPR

A person can face liability if he or she performed unnecessary emergency CPR on the victim.

16Jul 2020

Like all Personal Injury lawsuits, it is imperative that all parties shall be investigated in order to prove which party is at fault. Since Texas follows the modified comparative fault law or what is commonly known as “proportionate responsibility” which means if you are found partially at fault for the injury, then your compensation claims can be reduced or you may lose the right to claim if the plaintiff is responsible for more than half of the accident. This law prevents plaintiffs from unjust compensation claims against the defendants.

Thus, an injured driver who wants to sue must have less responsibility for the accident than the other driver in a collision.

Another important factor in comparing who is at fault is to check if there was negligence from the parties involved. You’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to navigate through the defendant’s tactics from shifting blame from themselves to maximize their client’s compensation.

So even if the accident was the defendant’s fault but you were not wearing your seatbelt, the defendant may contend that the severity of your damages was also because you failed to wear your seatbelt and will affect the overall value of your case.

51% Bar Rule

Texas, among twenty other states, follow the 51% bar rule. This means you are eligible for compensation when you have a partial fault or you will be unable to receive any compensation if you are determined to be 51% or more at fault for the accident.

In the end, if the plaintiff wins, their monetary compensation will be deducted of the percentage of their fault.

Let’s say there is a car accident between John and Ana. John got injured and decides to sue Ana.

The value of the claim is $1000 but we find that John was 30% responsible for the crash and Ana was 70% responsible. John would only receive $700 in compensation.

If we apply the 51% Bar rule, and John was proven to be 60% at fault, he will lose the case and will not get any compensation.

9Jul 2020

Accidents happen when you least expect them. Whether it’s a car accident, workplace accident or even medical malpractice, a major accident can have major physical and mental effects on your everyday life.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an accident, knowing your rights can alter the road to your recovery in a substantially positive way.

What is Personal Injury Law?

Personal Injury Law pertains to a person who suffers an injury due to another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct. Personal Injury Law enables the victim to get the justice they deserve by allowing a person to claim compensation for damages from the person proven accountable for the accident.

Types of Personal Injury Laws in Texas:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Wrongful death
  • Premises liability
  • Product liability
  • Medical malpractice
  • Dog bites

Where should I start?

Seek legal assistance.

To get the full compensation you deserve it’s important to have a seasoned personal injury lawyer. Each personal injury case is different and the laws vary depending on the nature of your accident and the state you were in when they occurred. It is extremely advantageous to hire a personal injury lawyer who has a complete and extensive understanding of the specific laws that apply to your case.

Keep in mind that it is always in your best interest to hire and file your case as soon as possible. In Texas, you have 6 months to 2 years (depending on your case) from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit.

Most experienced personal injury attorneys will advise you on the proper timeline on filing your claim. This will give you, your doctor and your lawyer time to fully assess the damages.

Once you have found your lawyer, the investigation will begin.

What do I need?

You’ll need to provide as much documentation and relevant information relevant to your accident.

Common documents:

  • Photo and videos of the accident and injury
  • Police report
  • Medical report
  • Hospital bills and medical receipts
  • Pay stubs
  • Information gathered during the incident (Parties involved and Witness Contact information)

Your attorney will conduct an investigation to determine how much each party is at fault.

Texas uses fault percentage commonly referred to as “proportionate responsibility” which states if a person is partially to blame, they can be held liable for the amount of damages proportionate their fault.

However, Texas also follows the 51% bar rule. This means you are eligible for compensation when you are 50% below at fault or you will not receive any compensation if you are determined to be 51% or more at fault for your the accident.

How much can I claim?

Damages are not exclusive to physical injury or property damage. Damages are not exclusive to physical injury or property damage. Depending on the nature and severity of your accident. It affects your life and your family’s life, these are also considered in each case when calculating the proper compensation.

The 3 types of damages under Personal Injury:

Economic Damages

The cost of these damages are relatively easy to quantify. It pertains to medical expenses, lost wages for missing work, lost capacity to earn, and property damages. It can be proven using documents, receipts and current prices in the market.

Non-Economic Damages

The cost of these damages are subjective and difficult to quantify because it has no monetary value. These types of damages include the physical, mental and emotional pain you have suffered from the injury.

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of ability to have sexual relations (consortium)
  • General inconvenience

There are currently no caps on non-economic damages in Texas, except in medical malpractice cases.

Punitive damages

Punitive damages are also called exemplary damages because it aims to carry out a message that bad behavior will be punishable by law. There must first be actual economic and non-economic damages before we calculate punitive damages. You also need to prove that the cause of the accident was due to gross negligence, fraud, or malice to justify additional punishment and you must be able to convince all of the 12 jurors to agree. However, in Texas, you’re limited to an amount between $200,000 and $750,000, depending on the actual economic damages determined by the jury.

What happens next?

After the investigation, your personal injury lawyer will begin negotiations for your settlement with the insurance company.

Most people with personal injury lawsuits prefer to achieve a financial settlement without going to trial. This saves both time, money and removes the heavy burden of a lengthy trial. In the event that the insurance company does not want to negotiate and agree with your claim, your case will go to trial.

9Jun 2020

When evaluating a personal injury claim, insurance adjusters routinely look at your medical records. One of the first things they look for are “gaps in treatment.” In the insurance industry, a “gap in treatment” is a term that means that your medical records show a gap or break in seeking medical attention for injuries that were caused by an accident or incident. A gap in treatment can mean you did not seek medical attention immediately after the accident. It could also mean that you did seek medical attention immediately after the collision, but at some point after you began your medical treatment, there was a significant period of time wherein you did not seek/receive medical treatment.

The insurance industry uses “gaps in treatment” to discount your medical treatment. To an insurance adjuster, a gap in treatment means you did not need medical care or that you weren’t in pain. In the real world, though, we all know that there are many different reasons why someone would not seek immediate medical attention or allow a significant amount of time to pass between doctor visits. Some people don’t have the medical insurance or money to pay for treatment. Others may not be able to take off of work for doctor visits or may have recently relocated to a new city where they have more limited treatment options.

A gap in medical treatment has never been a valid reason to discount someone’s medical treatment, but the events of the past three months have further discredited that point of view. The COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down a multitude of business worldwide in early March, including many healthcare facilities. As of the date of this article, many healthcare facilities continue to be either closed or operating at a reduced capacity. Sadly, some have been shut down altogether.

As a result, if you needed medical treatment in the past three months, it is highly probable that your medical provider was not able to see you for treatment for a period of time. In fact, given the priority that was given to COVID-19 patients and the burden that those patients placed on many facilities across the world, even those who were in need of emergency medical care were at times not able to receive treatment in some areas. Furthermore, some people undoubtedly decided that even though they were in pain and had access to a healthcare provider, seeking treatment was not a good idea because of the increased risk of exposing themselves to COVID-19, and certainly no one would fault them for that decision.

So, in light of the recent dynamics of COVID-19, how can the insurance industry continue to use “gaps in treatment” as a basis for discounting, and in some cases, denying claims? The prudent insurance carriers will not continue to do so, because they realize that the world has changed, including how people are forced to deal with their injuries and receive treatment. The imprudent insurance carriers, though, will continue to robotically chant “gaps in treatment” in evaluating their claims, but when those claims become lawsuits, they will soon find a jury made up of six or twelve human beings who have all been through the events of COVD-19 and who will judge those insurance companies harshly for continuing to make the same old “gaps in treatment” argument.

Are you having issues with contacting a medical provider or seeking treatment following a motor vehicle crash? Give our office a call today and make a free appointment to speak with one of our Car Crash Specialist.

9Jun 2020

In the world of “Personal Injury,” you are told what to do by the insurance adjusters. If you don’t listen, they tell you “go do what you have to do.” We heard that line about 25,000 times from insurance adjusters, and each time we went to do what we had to, setting a record for the Most Motor Vehicle Trials in Harris County, and maybe in the nation, in 2019 for a firm our size.

Now, all they say is “Congratulations.” Yeah, right. Now they say “Stop doing what you are doing,” “Don’t go to trial,” “take our policy limits,” “here’s over our limits.” The Hadi Law Firm settled over 12 cases in 2019 alone, 2 by Verdict, in excess of an Insurance Carriers Policy Limits. A case called STOWERS allows us to do that. Still, you need to work for it, which sometimes means going to trial and getting a verdict. We have successfully “Stowerized and Settled in excess of limits” against over 15 Insurance Carriers.

We recently received an offer at mediation, on June 4, 2020, for the maximum limits of $30,000.00, afforded our client under the at-fault tortfeasors coverages. Farmers Insurance refused to respond and settle after numerous demands to settle. Farmers even refused after watching their Insured run over our client. Watch the Video here. Speeding in a School Parking Lot! Their Defense Counsel, Hipolito “Polo” Gonzalez, even taunted the limits at one point but ultimately refused to offer it. When push came to shove, Farmers filed a Motion with the courts COMPELLING MEDIATION. In their motion, they discussed how our client’s case was bad, and that:

“9. The undersigned defense counsel believes that this case is ripe for mediation, and that a local mediator will better be able to reach the Plaintiff’s lawyer from Houston as to how a jury in McClennon [sic] County, Texas would respond to his arguments and demands given the actual proof in this case.”

Instead of properly evaluating a case in the beginning, Farmers instructed their Defense counsel to draft a Motion to Compel that suggests the Jury Pool in McLennan County [Waco, Texas area] would somehow be less willing to award our client money. Their so called “Local Mediator,” couldn’t put out the torch, even after he said:

“All this Texas Torch mumbo Jumbo goes right over my head and I don’t give a FIT. Are you going to demand less than limits or no, if NOT, THIS MEDIATION IS OVER!”

We said no. They Offered their Limits. We still said no.

Instead of evaluating this case and resolving it in 2016, Farmers pushed their options and selected bias and intimidation, forcing our office to spend money on mediation when they had already decided to offer the limits. Their games will turn into flames. They saw that nothing will stop The Texas Torch and tendered their limits, but by that time, it was a little too late. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for updates and videos on Personal Injury Law and How To Attack in Texas.