What it Means When a Hospital Files a “Lien” in Your Injury Case
May 5, 2016
If you have been a victim of personal injury in the Atlanta area, subsequently sought emergency medical treatment, and do not have health insurance, then the odds are highly likely that you have received a Notice of Intent to File a Hospital Lien in the mail. Many times this letter is typically from an attorney’s office. Understandably, most people are very concerned when they receive this formal letter from a law office or collections group.
While it may seem worrisome, please rest assured that this is a standard procedure of most hospitals and is simply a way for them to ensure that they are getting paid when your personal injury case settles. Please rest assured that the lien does not affect your credit rating and by law the lien cannot be used as “evidence of the patient’s failure to pay a debt.”
What is a hospital lien?
The lien itself is simply a document that is filed with the court to let others know that the hospital or medical facility should be paid out of any settlement or verdict. The “Notice of Intent” is required to be filed 15 days before the hospital or medical facility then files a lien. If you have hired an attorney, please make sure that you tell him or her that you have received a lien notification as he or she will want to note that in your file.
More importantly your Atlanta personal injury lawyer will want to make sure that the hospital or medical care facility followed the proper protocols to formally file the lien. If the proper protocols were not followed, then this can provide a strong opportunity for your lawyer to argue for a reduction of the lien since the paperwork was not properly filed. Georgia’s hospital lien statute requires that the medical care provider or hospital file strict instructions for the proper filing of a lien.