Hospital Liens in Automobile Injury Cases or Claims

Call (972) 599 4100 for a free initial telephone consultation.  Typically there there is no up-front charge to start working on your hospital lien.  We will need to discuss your case to see if you qualify.   If you are in Texas, and have received notice of a "hospital lien" due to your automobile collision, we can help. 

If you were involved in an accident, and went to the hospital, you will likely receive a notice of a hospital lien in the mail that says the hospital has a lien against you and/or any claims you have.  What does this mean?  What can you do to get this removed or taken care of? 

If your hospital lien is in Texas, the easiest route is to call us for a free initial consultation.  We will likely be able to answer your questions regarding the hospital lien, and place you on the right path towards resolving the lien, you may or may not need an attorney to resolve it.  Call and we can help you with your decision regarding what you need to do.   

Topics of Interest:
Attorney's Fee in injury cases
Settling Injury Claims
Adjuster is Delaying Payment and "Investigating" Claim
Medical Care After an Accident
Notice of Hospital Lien Against Case
Should I Use My Health Insurance After an Accident?
Multiple Car Accidents and Injuries
What You Can Recover in Injury Cases

Questions and Answers:

Typically, most people have the following questions once they have a hospital lien filed against them for their auto accident or car crash and injury case:  

1.  How does the hospital lien affect me? 

The fact that you received notice of a hospital lien means the hospital is claiming you owe the hospital money for your treatment.  An attorney can review the lien and determine if it is valid. "Hospital liens" are typically filed against people who have been injured in automobile accident. 

2.  What can I do about the hospital lien?

If your hospital lien is the result of being involved in an automobile accident and injury due to that accident, you may qualify to remove the lien.  The lien may or may not be valid.  A lawyer can review the lien and determine if the hospital should have filed the lien in your case.  A lawyer can verify validity of the lien in your situation.

3.  What is a hospital lien?  

In 1933, the Texas legislature passed the "Hospital Lien Statute".   This statute was designed to relieve hospitals of financial burdens in providing care to victims of accidents. This statute is in Chapter 55 of the Texas Property Code. The hospital lien attaches to the claim or lawsuit you may have from your automobile accident if you were admitted to a hospital within 72 hours of the accident and injury that caused you to seek treatment; see Sec. 55.003. In order to be effective, and to attach, the hospital is required to file the lien with the county clerk before payment of the settlement; Sec. 55.005.

The lien will also cover any hospital you are transferred to and extends to follow-up hospitalizations if the first admission occurred within 72 hours of the injury; see Sec. 55.002 and Baylor University Medical Center v. Travelers Ins. Co., 587 S.W.2d 501 (Tex. Civ. App. 1979 writ ref. n.r.e.)

In plain language, the hospital places a lien on your injury case or injury claim.  It means the hospital is claiming that you owe the hospital for the bills.  It also means that they are placing the auto insurance company on notice that they must include the hospital's name on any settlement checks in order to cover the lien.  If they don't, then the hospital can come back later against the auto insurance company to get paid again. 

4.  Why didn't the hospital bill my health insurance instead of filing a hospital lien against me?

Hospitals is hope they will get more money out of the automobile insurance than they will get out of your health insurance.  Health insurance companies negotiate reduced rates, automobile insurers usually do not. 

Hospitals often bill several times as much as the service is actually worth.  If there is a large settlement amount, the hospital may be able to squeeze out more money from you through your settlement, by hijacking your settlement negotiations, and forcing you (the injured person) to pay their inflated bill before you are reimbursed for your own out of pocket expenses you incurred due to the injury (lost wages, other medical expenses, deductibles, copays, etc).  Often this means they take the money from the auto insurance policy that you need to cover your own personal losses.  An attorney needs to get on top of your case immediately in these situations.  You need an attorney to advise you, to ensure you recover the proceeds that are needed for your losses - an to ensure the hospital is paid a fair rate, not an inflated rate. 

5.  Why didn't the hospital bill the other driver's insurance instead of filing a hospital lien against me?

They will notify the other insurance of their lien against you.  The lien statute requires the lien to be against the patient, and then they will often notify the insurance companies involved.  A lawyer will guide your case through the process to ensure the claim is handled in a way where the lien is removed, and your receive the largest amount of the settlement that you are able to receive.   

You will not know the full extent of all your bills early on in the case.  If you agree to settle early on, you will short-change yourself with regard to your hospital bills and liens.  You will end up holding the bill on a case that should have been paid by insurance company of the person who caused the accident.  If you try to settle your case on your own early on, and you have a hospital lien, you will likely be in for a shock as other bills related to your hospital visit trickle in after you have already signed away your rights on your case by trying to settle early on your own.  You would not try to fly an airplane if you were not properly trained.  Do not try to handle an automobile injury claim with hospital liens involved without a lawyer experienced in handling injury cases. 

6.  What do I need to do to get this hospital lien taken care of?

Hire a personal injury attorney experience in handling hospital liens.  You do not want to be stuck owing the hospital, ER doctors, ER radiology department, or other hospital related charges after your case is settled.  You also don't want to be blind-sided after you agree to settle with the insurance company - by the adjuster telling you "oh, by the way, all that money you signed that release for, all that money has to go to the hospital now - none goes to you . . . because the bills were higher than you realized."  . . . Don't let this happen to you, let an experienced lawyer handle your case so you don't end up having no money left over to pay for what you are out of pocket due to the hospital lien being handled incorrectly.