It's bad enough to be involved in a car accident in Texas. Your car is ruined, you've been hurt, and your life has been turned upside down. To make a bad situation even worse, a few weeks later, a scary "Texas hospital lien notice" shows up in your mail. There are few things that will ruin your day faster than a legal notice seeking tens of thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money for injuries you received in an accident you didn't cause!
The good news is this: Our law firm has been helping people deal with Texas hospital liens after a car accident or other personal injury incident for over 20 years. We know all the tricks in dealing with these liens and the hospitals that file and send them. If you are worried about hospital liens in Texas that have been filed against you and your insurance injury claim, call us right now for a free consultation at 1-800-898-4877 or contact us online to discuss your situation for free.
What is a Texas Hospital Lien?
Under Texas law, a hospital lien gives hospital and emergency services providers the right to receive payment from the money recovered in a personal injury claim. Usually, this compensation is paid by a person who is responsible for causing an accident (commonly referred to as the defendant) or their insurance company when the defendant causes injury to the victim.
These liens are typically filed in the county where the hospital is located, but the lien will still apply to recovery funds even if it is not filed. The lien only applies if you are admitted to a hospital or if emergency medical services are provided within 72 hours of the incident. The same lien applies to other hospitals if you are transferred for ongoing treatment of the same injury.
According to Texas law, the language of the lien is usually as follows:
(a) A hospital has a lien on a cause of action or claim of an individual who receives hospital services for injuries caused by an accident that is attributed to the negligence of another person. For the lien to attach, the individual must be admitted to a hospital not later than 72 hours after the accident.
(b) The lien extends to both the admitting hospital and a hospital to which the individual is transferred for treatment of the same injury.
(c) An emergency medical services provider has a lien on a cause of action or claim of an individual who receives emergency medical services in a county with a population of 800,000 or less for injuries caused by an accident that is attributed to the negligence of another person. For the lien to attach, the individual must receive the emergency medical services not later than 72 hours after the accident.
So what happens if you receive notice of a Texas hospital lien? First, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to understand your legal rights. In the meantime, here are a few Texas hospital line secrets you should know before you go any further.
Secret #1 - Hospitals May Refuse to Bill Your Health Insurance if They Have a Hospital Lien
Unfortunately, it is quite common for hospitals to refuse to submit medical bills to a patient's general health insurance when they know the patient was involved in a car accident. This is because hospitals have an opportunity to claim a much higher amount through a hospital lien than they would ever be able to recover from a health insurance company.
When a hospital files a lien with the county, it is almost impossible to get the Defendant's insurance company to pay your claim directly to you. Instead, the at-fault party's insurer will want to pay the hospital lien first. As such, as the REAL victim of the car accident, you are hurt twice - once in the initial car wreck and then again when you try to recover your financial damages.
Sadly, hospitals all over Texas are using this tactic to bully car accident victims into paying ridiculously high medical charges and leaving them with little or no money to cover their lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages to which they are entitled under Texas law. The good news is that there ARE ways to combat this greed and protect your rights, even after a hospital lien is in place. Our attorneys have been fighting these difficult hospital liens for years, and we know how to successfully resolve or remove Texas hospital liens for our clients.
Secret #2 - There ARE Limitations On What They Can Charge
While the Texas Hospital Lien laws are tilted very heavily in favor of the hospitals and against the patients, there are some legal limitations on what hospitals can charge. Specifically, hospitals cannot charge more than a "reasonable and regular rate" for their services. In other words, hospitals cannot charge an excessive rate for medical services provided just because they know someone was injured in a car accident.
If you can prove that the medical rates charged on your hospital bill are in excess of those considered reasonable and regular by the hospital, you can FIGHT the hospital lien and have it reduced. Knowing what "reasonable and regular" rates are for medical charges can sometimes be difficult for an individual consumer, but hiring a law firm with years of experience in examining and fighting unreasonable hospital charges is a good first step.
Secret #3 - How to Get a Hospital Lien Removed or Negotiated Down
All hospitals know that any money they recover from filing a hospital lien will come from the proceeds owed to a car accident victim or a victim of a personal injury incident. As a practical matter, the easiest and quickest way for a hospital to get paid on their lien is with the cooperation of the accident victim - their patient.
Depending on the amount of liability insurance coverage available and the amount of the hospital lien, hospitals will often be willing to negotiate a reduction of the amount they recover from the liability insurance proceeds, especially if the victim is represented by an attorney with deep knowledge of how Texas hospital liens work.
Our firm, for example, has successfully obtained SUBSTANTIAL reductions on hospital liens in situations where there were only limited insurance proceeds available. Even in situations where the medical bills far exceed the amount of liability insurance available, our firm is often able to negotiate reductions large enough to ensure that the crash victim personally receives thousands of dollars of "net" recovery, even after the hospital lien, attorneys fees, and other medical bills are paid.
Either through negotiations or a trial verdict, once the Texas hospital lien is reduced and paid, we will ensure it is removed from your claim so you don't have to deal with the hospital directly. The key to effectively negotiating the maximum possible reduction on these hospital liens is to have an attorney on your side who knows the law and is willing to fight for you.
When You Receive a Texas Hospital Lien Notice, Reach Out to Our Skilled Injury Lawyers
The attorneys of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, have been representing car accident and personal injury victims all over the State of Texas for over 20 years. If you were injured as the result of someone else's negligence and are trying to deal with a Texas hospital lien, call our office right now to schedule a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. For your free case evaluation, call us today at (800) 898-4877 or fill out our simple online form now.