Filing a lien is a way that a hospital can successfully recoup any unpaid medical expenses from a personal injury settlement. Once filed, a hospital lien will stay in effect until settled. It is considered an ideal way for a hospital to receive complete payment.
Personal Injury Settlements and Hospital Liens
Patients often do not realize that the hospital can file a lien against their personal injury settlement. Any time a person files a case in order to recoup medical expenses and other losses due to an injury the hospital has the right to lien the settlement in order to recoup their expenses. The hospital is not trying to take money from you for the unpaid expenses but instead get back the money owed by the at-fault third party.
Often Unknown Lien Practices
Here are five practices involving liens that many people do not realize.
- State Laws: Not all states allow hospitals to file a lien against a personal injury settlement for unpaid medical expenses.
- Lien Statutes: The typical lien statutes state that a hospital has 180 days to file a lien at the recorder’s office of the county. The lien papers must include the name and address of the hospital. It should also clearly display the dates of service.
- Enforceable: If a lien is not followed through correctly and according to the state laws then it is non-enforceable.
- Responsibility: Many people mistakenly believe that if a hospital files a lien against their personal injury claim then they do not have to pay their hospital bill. Unfortunately, regardless of the lien, the patient must still pay the entire hospital bill.
- Health Insurance: In some states, if there is health insurance available then the hospital must bill the health insurance. They cannot file a lien for the remaining amount after the health insurance company pays their portion. However, in other states, the hospital can file a lien immediately in order to receive the full amount of the money owed them instead of a portion of the personal injury settlement. In such circumstances, the hospital immediately files a lien against the personal injury settlement instead of billing the insurance. This allows them to recoup the entire amount of the bill instead of only a portion as they would if they were to bill the insurance.
Hospital Lien Balances can Often be Reduced
If a patient retains an attorney, the legal counselor can often negotiate with the hospital to reduce the amount of the lien. The attorney may also create a fund doctrine. With this system, the attorney is entitled to pull reimbursement fees.
Inflated Hospital Liens
Many people become frustrated when a hospital lien gains their personal injury claim because the amount owed is often inflated considerably. This is not always the case, but it often happens. The full amount of the hospital expenses can be substantially higher then what the hospital would typically bill the patient’s health insurance provider.
Cover Hospital Expenses
Many medical expenses can be covered by a personal injury lien. These expenses include:
- All ambulance services
- Emergency room services
- Physician services
- Nurse services
- Hospital services
- Medical supplies
- Dental services obtained in the hospital
- Drugs and medications
- Surgical expenses
The professionals at the Midland Group understand the ins and outs of a hospital lien from both perspectives: that of the hospital and the patient.