As a rule of thumb, victims must immediately seek medical care after a car accident. However, hospital bills are often significant and not every injured party has the financial capacity to pay them upfront. Since hospitals also cannot reject them for their inability to pay, Texas law allows facilities to file for a hospital lien.
A hospital lien or subrogation is when a facility provides emergency medical services to a person injured by someone’s negligence. Hospitals can later reimburse payment for the services they rendered from the victim’s personal injury case settlement.
However, not all situations qualify for a hospital lien. It will help if victims know how the rule applies to their circumstances before signing any binding agreement.
Hospital lien considerations
Emergency medical care must constitute severe bodily harm, impairment or disfigurement. Besides this definition, the following are the state criteria for a hospital lien to become valid:
- Hospital admission must be within 72 hours of the motor vehicle crash. But admission is not necessary for a hospital to be eligible to file a lien. Any service done inside the facility is enough.
- The lien’s limit is between the lesser of the first 100 days of medical care that the victim receives or 50% of the recovered compensation.
- The lien extends to the facility where the patient will transfer for further treatment.
State hospital liens do not attach if the injured individual is liable. It also does not apply under the workers’ compensation law.
Hospital lien negotiations
A standard hospital lien often favors the medical professional or facility. While some cases are negotiable, an insufficient understanding of the process can lead to potentially losing a substantial amount from the claim settlement. Victims can benefit from a legal team to protect their rights by reviewing the agreement and fighting for fair terms.