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.