When a serious incident takes place, your right to emergency medical care is protected under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). It’s obvious that a major car crash can significantly impact the life of you and your family, but those effects do not stop at the physical issues. Until confronted by the reality of an accident, most do not fully comprehend the legal complications arising out of a crash, which can be as involved as the recovery itself.
Understanding your protections as the victim, as well as the legal functions in place to protect the interests of both hospital and patient, is the best way to protect yourself financially while recovering from an accident. Whether or not a patient is able to pay for treatment, healthcare facilities are required by federal law to give care. It is extremely important to understand however, while you cannot be refused emergency treatment, the EMTALA does not protect you from paying the costs at a later date. The hospital’s claim to financial recovery is often called a “hospital lien.”
Differing from other liens (such as a contractor’s lien), a hospital lien is placed on the potential financial reward of a settlement. In the event a third party is found responsible and pays compensation for medical expenses and other considerations, the hospital may file a claim against the settlement sum to cover treatment expenses incurred during the course of treatment. In some instances, the proceeds from the settlement may only cover the claim for the hospital.
As a patient, it helps to understand the choices that exist to protect both the medical facility and the patient’s interests. Individual payment agreements can be made, conserving a greater portion of the money to help you as you recover. A qualified personal injury attorney can aid in this effort.
Ty Wilson is a personal injury attorney in Savannah and is dedicated to helping injured people and their families. Call his office today at 866-937-5454 to order his free book, 10 Secrets of Georgia Car Wreck Claims. This book is intended to give you and/or your loved one a solid foundation regarding Georgia auto accident claims, how to hire an attorney, and how to deal with the insurance company prior to speaking with an attorney.