Posts under: Personal Injury


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. 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.

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 was the victim of an accident, knowing your rights can dramatically improve the road to your recovery.

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 victims to get the justice they deserve by allowing them 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 eye 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 to their fault.

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

How much can I claim?

Damages are not exclusive to physical injury or property damage. Your claim amount can also depend on the nature, severity of your accident and how it affects your and your families lives. These are just some of the other factors considered when calculating the correct claim amount.

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.