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.
- 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. They will first send a 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 is 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.