Texas has a hospital lien statute. It is located at Section 55 of the Texas Property Code. It provides that a hospital is entitled to be reimbursed for reasonable hospital bills incurred by a person admitted to a hospital not later than 72 hours after an accident.
However, Section 55.003(b)(3) of the statute states that it does not apply to "the proceeds of an insurance policy in favor of the injured individual . . . ." In 1984 the Texas Supreme Court decided the case of Members Mutual Insurance Company v. Hermann Hospital. The case held that hospital liens do not attach to uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured Motorist Coverage is that part of your insurance policy that you have paid premiums for to provide a source of funds for you in the event that the person who injured you did not have any insurance. The Texas Supreme Court decision means that your insurance company should not insist on including the hospital's name on a check settling your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If they do insist you may have to contact an attorney to straighten them out.
Texas Property Code, Section 55.001 et seq. (Vernon Supp. 1997)
Members Mut. Ins. Co. v. Hermann Hospital, 664 S.W.2d 325 (Tex. 1984)
Written by Donald Ray Burger, Attorney at Law
Last revised: January 23, 1997
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