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Tip 2

When May a New York Hospital Pursue the Filing of a Lien?

Frank Mazzagatti and Bruce Klein

In New York, it has long been established that hospitals have private rights of action to pursue liens on patients’ actions for personal injuries. New York’s Lien Law § 189 states, in relevant part, that “[e]very corporation incorporated under general law or special act as a charitable institution maintaining a hospital in the state supported in whole or in part by charity, the state university of New York and every county, city, town, or village operating and maintaining a hospital shall to the extent hereinafter provided have alien upon any and all rights of action, suits, claims, counterclaims or demands, of any nature whatsoever, of any person receiving emergency treatment or admitted to any such hospital and receiving treatment, care and maintenance therein, on account of any personal injuries received within a period of one week prior to receiving emergency treatment or admission to the hospital and as a result of the negligence, wrongful act or any other tort, of any other person or persons or corporation, which any such injured person or the legal representative of such injured person, in case of death as a result of such injuries, may or shall have, assert or maintain against any such other person or corporation for damages on account of such injuries, for the amount of the reasonable charges of such hospital, for the treatment, care and maintenance of such injured person at cost rates in such hospital.”

As far back as 1933, the New York Court of Appeals held that “publicly maintained” hospitals were privileged to recover the value of medical and surgical services. Kocko v. Harris Coal Company, 262 N.Y. 535 (1933). As such, the present provisions of the Lien Law place the “charitable hospital” and the “public hospital” in the same position in respect of the filing and enforcing of the statutory lien. § 189, subd. 1.

The lien is allowed “for treatment, care and maintenance therein.” This provision has been held to include more than food, drugs and nursing attention. The word “treatment” necessarily means medical and surgical attention. The measure of the value of all such items to be included in the lien is the “reasonable” charge at the “cost rates in such hospital.” Meyer v. The New York Hospital, 7 A.D.2d 60 (1st Dept.1958).

Additionally, if an injured person received emergency treatment or was admitted to the hospital due to personal injuries received within one-week prior to such treatment or admission, hospitals receiving such patients as transfers for subsequent treatment of the same injuries shall also be privileged to have a lien as provided by the statute.

For a lien to be valid and enforceable, hospitals are required to, prior to the payment of any monies, provide a written notice containing the name and address of the injured party, the date of the accident, the name and location of the hospital and the name(s) of the persons, firms and/or corporations alleged to be liable to the injured party. Said notice shall be mailed, registered or certified mail with prepaid postage to the persons, firms, and/or corporations alleged to be liable to the injured party for the injuries sustained.

Procedurally, hospitals shall also mail a copy of the written notice, described above, to any insurance carrier which has insured the person, firm or corporation (hospital) against such liability. Merely mailing the written notice is deemed effective.

Additionally, hospitals claiming liens shall also file in the office of the County Clerk of the county in which the hospital is located and mail to the persons in the manner described above, after the discharge of any injured person, and additional notice of lien, duly verified, which lists the total hospital charges which have accrued and no lien hereunder shall exceed that amount.

The filing of a notice of lien of a hospital under the statute shall be valid for a period of ten years only. The validity of the filing may be extended for successive ten-year periods so long as the renewal is done within one-year prior to the expiration of the underlying judgment.

What Sets Us Apart From Our Competitors?

The Three C's: Collection, Consulting, Compliance
  • Fighting for Compensation

    We use negotiation, arbitration, or litigation to ensure medical providers are fairly compensated for their services.

  • Experienced Attorneys

    We have a team of trusted and respected attorneys to ensure your case is matched with the best attorney possible.

  • Client-Focused Approach

    We’re a client-centered, results-oriented firm. When you work with us, you can have confidence we’ll put your best interests at the forefront of your case – it’s that simple.

  • We'll Fly to You

    We fly throughout New England to meet with medical providers and hospitals to help them with collection, consulting and compliance.

  • Creative & Innovative Solutions

    No two cases are the same, and their solutions shouldn’t be either. Our attorneys provide creative points of view to yield exemplary results.

What Sets Us Apart From Our Competitors?

  • Fighting for Compensation

    We use negotiation, arbitration, or litigation to ensure medical providers are fairly compensated for their services.

  • Experienced Attorneys

    We have a team of trusted and respected attorneys to ensure your case is matched with the best attorney possible.

  • Client-Focused Approach

    We’re a client-centered, results-oriented firm. When you work with us, you can have confidence we’ll put your best interests at the forefront of your case – it’s that simple.

  • We'll Fly to You

    We fly throughout New England to meet with medical providers and hospitals to help them with collection, consulting and compliance.

  • Creative & Innovative Solutions

    No two cases are the same, and their solutions shouldn’t be either. Our attorneys provide creative points of view to yield exemplary results.

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