MCFADDEN, P. J., RICKMAN and MARKLE, JJ.
McFadden, Presiding Judge.
issue are the requirements for perfecting a medical services
lien set out at OCGA § 44-14-471, particularly the
requirement of written notice to the alleged tortfeasor and
his insurer. The claimant here did not provide such notice.
But the notice requirement is conditioned by the phrase
"to the best of the claimant's knowledge[.]"
OCGA § 44-14-471 (a) (1). The trial court held that the
undisputed evidence of the claimant's due diligence was
sufficient to show that this failure should not invalidate
the lien. We affirm.
claimant is Kennestone Hospital, Inc. d/b/a WellStar
Kennestone Hospital. It brought suit against Allstate Fire
& Casualty Insurance Company to enforce its lien for
medical treatment and services provided to David Pruitt
following a motor vehicle collision with Allstate's
insured, Ginger Gentry. The parties moved for summary
judgment. Allstate argued that Kennestone failed to perfect
its lien under OCGA § 44-14-471, and Kennestone argued
that it had satisfied all requirements to perfect its lien.
The trial court granted summary judgment to Kennestone on its
claims. Allstate filed this direct appeal.
at the outset that we have jurisdiction over this direct
appeal, even thought the amount in dispute is less than $10,
000. The requirement that "[a]ppeals in all actions for
damages in which the judgment is $10, 000.00 or less" be
taken by application, OCGA § 5-6-35 (a) (6), is not
applicable. An action on a lien is not an action for damages,
so even if the amount of an award is less than $10, 000, an
appellant is not required to pursue a discretionary appeal.
Kelly v. Pierce Roofing Co., 220 Ga.App. 391,
391-392 (469 S.E.2d 469) (1996).
parties stipulated to the following facts. On January 20,
2012, Kennestone mailed to Pruitt, the patient who had
received hospital services, a notice of its intent to file a
lien. Kennestone filed the lien on February 9, 2012.
filing the lien, Kennestone attempted to identify the alleged
tortfeasor and her insurer by telephoning Pruitt and by twice
attempting to locate the accident report. It left a voice
mail for Pruitt, which was not returned, and the Georgia
Department of Public Safety informed Kennestone that no
accident report had been found.
March 6, 2012, after it had filed the lien, Kennestone was
made aware that Pruitt had hired an attorney to potentially
pursue filing a personal injury lawsuit. On that date as well
as on April 27, 2012, Kennestone attempted to contact the
attorney but failed to make contact. It again attempted to
contact the attorney on June 12, 2012, and September 19,
made further unsuccessful attempts to locate the accident
report on March 6, 2012, April 27, 2012, June 12, 2012, June
13, 2012, September 19, 2012, and September 28, 2012. On
December 13, 2012, Kennestone received the accident report
which identified Gentry and Allstate. It sent a notice of the
lien to Allstate on December 20, 2012. It never sent notice
argues that OCGA § 44-14-471 required Kennestone to send
notice of the lien to Gentry. Kennestone counters that during
the time period for providing notice, it had not identified
the tortfeasor, despite exercising due diligence, so it had
nowhere to send the notice. It also argues that the statute
does not require notice to the tortfeasor after the lien has
pertinent part, OCGA § 44-14-471 (a) provides that in
order to perfect a lien for the provision of medical
services, a hospital
(1) [s]hall, not less than 15 days prior to the date of
filing the statement required under paragraph (2) of this
subsection, provide written notice to the patient and, to the
best of the claimant's knowledge, the persons . . . and
their insurers claimed by the injured person or the legal
representative of the injured person to be liable for damages
arising from the injuries . . .; and
(2) [s]hall file in the office of the clerk of the superior
court of the county in which the hospital . . . is located
and in the county wherein the patient resides, if a resident
of this state, a verified statement setting forth the name
and address of the patient as it appears on the records of
the hospital . . .; the name and location of the hospital . .
.; the dates of admission and discharge of the patient
therefrom . . .; and the amount claimed to be due for the
hospital . . . .
OCGA § 44-14-471 (a). Hospitals must file the statements
described in subsection (a) (2) within 75 days after the
patient is discharged from the hospital. OCGA §
44-14-471 (a) (2) (A). Since the written notice of (a) (1)
must be provided not less than 15 days before the verified
statement of (a) (2) is filed, and the verified statement of
(a) (2) must be filed within 75 days of a patient's