District Court of Appeals at Tyler Reverses Lower Court’s Ruling Enjoining EMS Provider from Enforcing Liens

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Payments for medical expenses rendered to a person injured in an east Texas car accident can be a complicated process involving multiple insurance companies, including health insurance carriers, liability insurers, and even the injured person’s own automobile accident insurance company.

It helps to have an experienced automobile accident attorney involved in the case as soon as possible to help make sure that bills are routed to the appropriate entities for payment. Still, disputes can arise, especially when the providers themselves do not go about their business in a timely or efficient manner.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (No. 12-17-00095-CV; Court of Appeals for the 12th Court of Appeals District at Tyler, Texas), the plaintiffs were four individuals who were injured in motor vehicle accidents that were allegedly caused by the negligence of third persons who were not parties to the current lawsuit. In each of the accidents, the plaintiffs’ injuries required that they be transported to a hospital by a certain city’s emergency medical services (EMS) unit.

The plaintiff sued the defendant city officials, seeking a declaratory judgment that, since the city’s EMS did not timely bill the plaintiffs’ health insurance companies, the plaintiffs were only liable for the amount that they would have had to pay had their health insurance carriers been timely billed. The plaintiffs also asked the trial court to enjoin the defendants from enforcing the medical services liens that they had filed in the plaintiffs’ lawsuits against the negligent parties who had caused the accidents that necessitated the EMS services.

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, holding that the liens were in violation of Texas law and enjoining the defendants from continuing their practice of filing EMS liens against patients who had coverage under a private medical indemnity plan through which EMS was entitled to recover through an assignment of benefits.

Decision Reached by the Court

The appellate court reversed in part, rendered judgment in part, and remanded the case for further proceedings in the trial court, finding that the plaintiffs had failed to conclusively prove all of the elements of their declaratory judgment claim as a matter of law; consequently, they were not entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. This holding was based in part on the court’s finding that the plaintiffs failed to establish the requisite summary judgment evidence necessary to establish that each of them had insurance coverage that would have covered the EMS services for which the liens were issued. Although the plaintiffs were able to show that their health insurance companies had paid other bills, they were unable to show for certain that the EMS bills would have been paid if the defendants had properly billed them.

Seasoned Professionals Helping Those Injured in East Texas Car Accidents

Not every east Texas car accident case is as simple as an injured person filing a negligence claim against the person who caused a wreck. Many other issues can arise that may require an attorney’s services, including disputes with one’s own insurance company, product liability or premises liability claims, and third-party actions arising from work-related automobile collisions. Earl Drott Law has been helping families seek fair compensation following truck, car, and motorcycle crashes for more than 30 years. For an appointment to discuss your accident, call us at 903-531-9300.

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