When you have a personal injury case against someone who caused severe injuries to you due to negligence, you may have medical bills that begin to mount during the case. If you struggle to pay your bills while filing a claim, the hospital may put a medical lien on your settlement.
According to Texas statutes, a medical lien is a hold on a payment you recover during a personal injury lawsuit. While you may be able to negotiate with the hospital during the claim, understanding what a medical lien is can help you navigate the situation better.
How does a hospital attach a medical lien?
To attach a medical lien, the hospital has to prove that it treated your injuries related to the accident. Hospitals file the lien before you receive any money from the other party or the insurance company. If the hospital files the lien too late, it may be invalid. Keep in mind that you still have a responsibility to pay them when you have hospital bills, regardless of your claim. If you cannot pay the bills, you may have to work out with the hospital a payment plan or ask the hospital to wait until your settlement to receive payment. Most hospitals will work with you if you have a current claim while you await your settlement.
How will the lien affect you?
The lien affects your overall settlement. In addition, it affects your insurance company and lawyer. Before the insurance company can pay you your settlement, they have to check with the county clerk to ensure that you do not have any liens. If there are liens, the money goes directly to the hospital to pay off the lien.
To avoid liens, you may need to stay in contact with the hospital’s billing department throughout your lawsuit.