Hospital Liens in Texas
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The Texas hospital lien statute, 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.
WHAT IS A HOSPITAL LIEN?
A hospital lien gives a hospital a superior legal right to recovery. In other words, in Texas, hospitals can get paid back before you do.
Hospitals commonly file liens against accident victim patients in order to recover their charges. All hospitals have done this, whether you saw a doctor at Methodist Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Orthopedic Hospital, or one of the other many hospitals in Houston – hospital liens are filed in the public county property records and secure the hospital’s right to payment for the debt. Hospital liens will appear in credit checks and searches of public records and hospitals generally strictly enforce their liens.
Because hospital liens are very strong, if you settle your case but didn’t realize that there was a hospital lien, or simply ignored it, the hospital can sue you for the charges, and also collect attorney’s fees.
Therefore, it is important to understand the rules regarding hospital liens to ensure that you don’t overpay a lien as well as ensure that you properly obtain a Release of Hospital Lien.
Care must be within 72 hours. In order for a hospital lien to be valid, it must pertain to a hospital admission within 72 hours of the accident causing the injury. If the treatment happened more than 72 hours after the accident, the lien is invalid. The Notice of Hospital Lien must contain the following information:
- Patient’s name and address;
- The date of the accident;
- Name and address of hospital;
- Name of the person who is liable for the injury.
The notice of lien must contain all of that information or the lien is not valid. One common thing to look for is whether the notice lists the patient as being the person who is liable for the injury. If the notice lists the patient as being the liable party, the lien is invalid.