Texas has a hospital lien law that enables hospitals to recoup some of the money that they are out by treating persons that are injured in an accident who don’t have insurance or the ability to pay for the healthcare.
What is a Hospital Lien?
Personal injury victims often find out about a hospital lien when they attempt to settle their personal injury case. If a hospital takes the proper steps – and all of them do, a lien can attach to the following:
- A claim for damages relating to the injury that the person received treatment for the hospital.
- A court judgment in a case for damages out of the accident.
- Proceeds from a personal injury settlement relating to injuries treated by the hospital.
The hospital lien statute is found in Texas Property Code Section 55.002(a), which states:
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.
It is helpful to know that if a person is treated within the first 72 hours at the hospital will attach to subsequent treatment but the hospital he will only cover the first 100 days of hospitalization.
Hospitals must take action to perfect their lien before the money is actually paid to an injured person. A hospital does this by filing a notice of lien in the county in which the hospital services were rendered. All of the hospitals are aware of this requirement and routine follow-up and file a lien when there’s any indication that a claim is being made or could be made.
Personal injury attorneys, as well as defense attorneys, must ensure that the hospital lien is satisfied out of any settlement.
Personal injury victims who represent themselves need to be very careful in making sure that a hospital lien has been satisfied out of the settlement or agreeing to a settlement without taking into consideration the necessary repayment of the hospital.
Usually, experienced personal injury attorneys will attempt to deal with the hospital to reduce the amount of the hospital lien in order to maximize the net proceeds available to the injured person.