If you have ever sustained a personal injury, it is possible that you are faced with a hospital lien on any injury you suffer from the person who caused the injury (the wrongdoer). A hospital lien basically surface when you are taken into emergency care after a car accident or a slip- and –fall and your insurance coverage is not enough to cover for your treatment and care.
It is very important that you have a personal injury attorney in Florida to guide you through the course of filing for a lien claim because, most times, the charges claimed for a lien are extremely inflated- always well above the amount a normal health insurer would give for the exact treatment. Notwithstanding the fact that hospitals and health care professionals have the regulatory rights to enforce these liens and they might not have to bring down the charges to the length they would for a person covered by insurance, your personal injury attorney can help you by bargaining and negotiating for what is truly fair to you.
Every state in the US has different rules by which it takes care of these personal injury issues and lately, the Florida Supreme Court was faced with responding to whether “reasonable charges” should be the discounted amount hospitals receive as whole payment to the insurer or if it should be the full, non-discounted payment bill forwarded to patients.
The Florida Supreme Court claims that this suit began as a result of a 2010 auto accident in which serious injury was suffered by the complainant. The complainant and her husband filed a personal injury lawsuit against the accused who is the driver of the other vehicle. They made a case claiming that the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the accused and sought damages for critical and permanent harms done and also for present and future medical bills. Complaint highlighted complainant’s medical bills incurred from over a dozen health providers and it totaled to an amount of $53,000. The medical bills were affixed with the complaint.
Different health care providers and doctors were invited to bear witness in regards to the rationality of the bill they delivered to the complainant. The complainant insisted that $53,000 was the charge she was billed for her medical expenses and that was what she would receive from the defendant. The defendant’s attorney argued that the complainant’s health insurance company paid just the sum of $18,300 to settle her medical expenses and as such, the amount featured on the complainant’s bill should be counted as inconsequential and be dismissed.
Defendant attorney sought that evidence of the bills received by the complainant should be suppressed or the discounted charge received by the hospital should be admitted to. In advance, defendant argued that making a comparison of the two bills proved that the initial bills were irrational. The court then dismissed evidence of the complainant’s full non-discounted medical bills.
An interlocutory appeal was filed by the complainant to the state court of appeals and the appeal court reversed the trial court judgment. Defendant appealed to the state supreme court and it reversed its judgment partially and affirmed it partially. The court ruled that while the appellate court’s decision is not applicable to personal injury lawsuits, the evidence in this case of discounted charges received by the health care providers may be admitted to in order to rebut the testimony of the complainant’s health care provider that the charges were “rational”.