What Makes a Hospital Lien Fraudulent?
In Texas, hospitals can file a lien against patients who haven’t paid their bills. They do this to recover compensation for the unpaid bills, but not all liens are legal. Sometimes hospitals illegally file a claim or overcharge, which causes financial problems for many Texan families.
In 1933, the Texas legislature passed a law to allow hospitals to recover compensation from the person responsible for the accident if someone required hospital admission within 72 hours of the incident. The key to this is the phrase “admitted to a hospital,” which means if you aren’t admitted as a hospital inpatient, the hospital cannot legally file a lien.
Texas Law & Over-Treatment
If you were treated in a hospital emergency room after a car accident and you were not admitted as an inpatient, the hospital cannot legally file a lien. Almost every fraudulent claim filed by a hospital against a Texan starts with care for an injury or acute illness in the emergency room. Sometimes the bills and charges are increased without probable cause. There could be tests and examinations performed that weren’t needed for the specific injury. Texas lawyers refer to this as “over-treatment.”
When there is over-treatment of a patient by a hospital, the medical bill will end up being much higher than it would have been if the medical staff only addressed the specific injury for which care was sought. This approach is used to help the hospital report favorable results to shareholders and to improve profit margins. In the end, the patient is released from the emergency room without having been admitted to the hospital as an inpatient, so they cannot be served a lien.
Sometimes the hospital will immediately file a lien against you at the local county clerk’s office to recover proceeds from any lawsuit. Some hospitals want to obtain a larger share of the compensation so they will do unnecessary testing and procedures. If the hospital is charging rates considered to be unreasonable or excessive, they cannot legally pursue a lien against you.
To determine if the rates charged are overly expensive, the prices of other hospitals within the same geographical area get reviewed. The charges cannot be increased because of the type or nature of your accident. As an example, a patient who suffered a broken arm at home can’t be charged less than someone who suffered a broken arm in a trucking crash. If this were found to be true, it would be evidence that the hospital lien is fraudulent.
The Fraudulent Filing Act
There is a fraudulent filing act in Texas, which penalizes hospitals that pursue fraudulent liens against patients. The law will allow legal action against hospitals who target innocent patients. If you have excessive charges and/or only sought treatment in an emergency room and you have a lien filed against you, then you should consult with a lawyer to determine if the claim filed against you is fraudulent.
Seek Legal Counsel with Fears Nachawati
We have seen a wave of fraudulent hospital liens filed across the state of Texas and in turn, have helped numerous individuals battle these exorbitant charges. If you believe that you or a loved one is the victim of a fraudulent lien, then you should reach out to the offices of Fears Nachawati today.
For your free, no-obligation legal consultation, please call our team today at (866) 705-7584, or visit one of the offices located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.