Section 18.001 Affidavits and Hospital Liens
On September 1, 2019, a major change to Chapter 18.001 of the Civil Practices and Remedies Code goes into effect with long-lasting ramifications for Texas attorneys and their clients. Chapter 18.001 outlines deadlines for serving affidavits and counter-affidavits concerning reasonableness of charges for and necessity of medical services.
For attorneys offering an affidavit, the language of the new statute requires the party serve a copy of the affidavit by the earlier of:
- 90 days of the date the Defendant files an answer OR,
- The date the offering party must designate any expert witness pursuant to either a Court issued scheduling order or under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
Additionally, while some attorneys gained traction in proving causation through affidavits filed under 18.001 in the past, the newly passed version of the statute explicitly precludes any such finding.
Legislators also amended Chapter 55 of the Texas Property Code, a section specifically dealing with third-party negligence, with the following updates in effect as of June 10, 2019.
- Admission to a hospital now includes when an injured person has any treatment, service, or care.
- Hospital liens are now for the lesser of either the hospital’s charges for the first 100 days of hospitalization OR 50% of the injured person’s recovery from a settlement, judgment, or cause of action.
While the alterations to 18.001 also set out new rules and timelines for Defendants, the most critical changes are those affecting Plaintiffs. If you handle personal injury cases in Texas, please be sure you are discussing these recent changes with your staff.