Brian White | September 21, 2022 | Personal Injury
In a personal injury case, a lien is a healthcare provider’s right to deduct money from your compensation. Texas law forbids healthcare providers from denying emergency medical treatment. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean they can’t aggressively seek payment after they have rendered these services.
A lien can attach to a court judgment or a private settlement. It can also attach to the decision of certain government agencies or even the right to file a lawsuit. The availability of liens is particularly important in truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other accidents that produce catastrophic injuries with high medical bills. You can use a lien as a substitute for payment until you receive personal injury compensation.
Texas Personal Injury Lien Law
Chapter 55 of the Texas Property Code governs personal injury liens in Texas. If you suffer from an accident that is “attributed to another person’s negligence,” your emergency health care provider can file a lien with the county government. If you suffer an injury, sue the negligent party, and win, your emergency healthcare provider can deduct the lien amount from your settlement before you receive money.
However, the amount of the lien is not necessarily limited to emergency medical treatment. A hospital might agree to treat all your medical needs and take a lien on your personal injury compensation.
How To File a Lien
The healthcare provider must file a personal injury lien with the local county property records.
A lien would include identifying information about you, your healthcare provider, and the at-fault party. Your healthcare provider must then:
- Send you a written notice that includes (i) the name and address of you and your healthcare provider, (ii) the date of the accident, and (iii) the name of the liable party (most likely an insurance company).
- File a lien at the county clerk’s office. A lien will not attach to money that you received before the day your healthcare provider filed it.
- Your healthcare provider must send you or your lawyer a written notice within five business days of confirmation of the lien.
If your healthcare provider followed these steps, the lien is probably valid.
Limitations on Personal Injury Liens
Following are some limitations on how your healthcare provider may use a lien:
- Texas personal injury liens do not attach to Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) benefits, PIP benefits, Med-Pay, wrongful death recoveries, worker’s compensation awards, or funds covered by the Federal Employees Liability Act.
- Chiropractors, physical therapists, and many other healthcare providers cannot file personal injury liens.
- Your healthcare provider must begin treating you within 72 hours of the accident to file a personal injury lien.
- Personal injury liens are not available in any Texas county with a population of more than 800,000. This “ban list” currently includes Collin, Dallas., Denton, El Paso, Harris, Hidalgo, Travis, Bexar, and Tarrant counties.
- A Texas personal injury lien is limited to expenses arising during your first 100 days of hospitalization.
- Your healthcare provider cannot charge you more than $1,000 for ambulance services provided during the first 72 hours after your accident.
- If your healthcare provider has the opportunity to bill your health insurance provider, then it must do so, and it cannot file a lien for any unpaid portion of the bill.
- Your healthcare provider must charge you at a “reasonable and regular rate” for their services.
- The total amount of the lien cannot exceed the lesser of (i) your healthcare provider’s bills for your first 100 days of hospitalization or (ii) 50% of the total amount you receive in a settlement or judgment.
As you can see, there are a number of limitations that are in place, many of which are intended to benefit or protect the personal injury victim.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you suffer a serious injury that generates high medical bills and keeps you out of work for a long time, you might desperately need a personal injury lien to pay your medical bills as they come due. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you arrange a lien by negotiating with hospitals, auto insurers, and health insurance companies.
CONTACT THE HOUSTON PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS AT ATTORNEY BRIAN WHITE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS FOR HELP
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054