In Texas, hospital have the legal right to file a lien in the county where they provided emergency medical services to a personal injury victim. The purpose of the lien is to protect their bill for services provided in connection with the injury. In the event the personal injury victim is able to reach a settlement or otherwise recover money from the careless person’s insurance, the insurance will not pay the personal injury victim until they know the hospital’s bill has been paid. This lien is very similar to a lien a bank would have if they loaned money to someone to buy a home or a car. The person could not sell the home or the car without paying the bank back. Similarly, the personal injury victim cannot settle their case with a liability insurance company without paying the hospital back.
Unfortunately, it is common for hospitals to abuse the hospital lien. When a hospital knows a personal injury victim has been injured in a car crash, the hospital sees an opportunity to get paid more for their services by asserting a lien against the victim’s settlement. This is particularly true when the personal injury victim has health insurance. Rather than submit the injury victim’s bill to health insurance, where the hospital will likely be required to substantially reduce their bill, the hospital will simply file the lien, notify the liability car insurance company about the lien, and hold a settlement hostage until the lien has been resolved. By doing this, the hospital will then argue they are owed the full billed amount, rather than the reduced amount they would have received if the bill had been submitted to health insurance. With proper guidance, though, this scheme can be successfully fought and defeated.
By calling a personal injury lawyer, a personal injury can learn what their options are for handling a hospital bill and dealing with a hospital lien. If the personal injury victim waits too long to take action against the hospital lien, the victim might lose very important options, including the ability to force the hospital to submit the bill to the victim’s health insurance. A mistake like this can cost the personal injury victim thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars.
A special message to the friends and potential new clients of FVF Law:
FVF’s client contract has, for a long time, contained the following termination clause: “FVF Law is a values-driven law firm, and because diversity is a value we support, “good cause” [for termination] shall include any expression by the client of intolerance with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.”
Now more than ever, FVF recognizes the global need to combat racism proactively, and to do so with more than just words. This firm was built on the mission of being better. Better lawyers. Better advocates. Better people.
We all know being better requires an ongoing commitment to learning, growth, introspection, and change. We enthusiastically embrace that commitment and hereby pledge to do more than just talk about it. Stay tuned on our blog and facebook page for more about what FVF is doing to back this important global effort.
In the meantime, we would respectfully request new clients who find their own views incompatible with this pledge to consider contacting another firm to handle their case. In any case, we invite you to provide honest feedback by emailing email@example.com.
Josh and Aaron, and all of FVF Law