Unpaid Hospital Bills
Hospital liens can have dire consequences and should be addressed in all injury cases. Insurance companies always ask that injured clients address these liens from the settlement recovery and hold them harmless in case the hospital sues. As the name applies, a hospital lien is an encumbrance on the actual personal injury case and the proceeds of the case. Filing a lien is notifying the whole world that the hospital has an interest in the matter.
How to Determine if Their is a Lien?
There are many ways to determine if a hospital has filed a lien. One method is going to the county where the hospital is located and searching the Superior court records. Unfortunately this is time consuming as the records are voluminous and not readily searchable. An easier method is to use online services such as the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority. This powerful database can search all county records and determine if a lien has been filed, which needs to be addressed.
Consequences of Ignoring a Lien
Many consequences can result from ignoring a lien. Most often the hospital will sue you, the insurance company that settled your case, and your attorney for failure to pay their lien. The insurance company will invariably not have to pay as your settlement documents will require that you indemnify the insurance company. Likewise, your attorney will not have to pay as the documents you signed with he or she would place the burden on you. That leaves you having to pay the lien, as well as the attorney fees incurred by the hospital, the insurance company and your attorney in having to go to court. This could amount to thousands of extra dollars that you would not have had to pay had the lien been dealt with during your injury claim.
Paying the Hospital Lien
Resolving injury cases requires an attorney to know every detail of the file. At the Patel Law Firm we make sure our clients are well informed not only about their claim but outside facts that have an impact on what our clients will eventually recover. Dealing with a hospital lien early in the process stops harassing phone calls and a opens a line of communication so that your attorney can ask for a reduction of the lien at a later point in time. It is an attorneys job to ensure that after the case is resolved that all loose ends such as liens, unpaid bills and expenses are addressed.