I cant pay the bills . I have no job at this time , i don't own any houses or anything like that and i don't have banking stuff , like accounts , stocks , bonds , etc . . . and i live with my parents . I tried to work out a payment plan but they want more per month than i can afford . Bankruptcy is NOT and option , i cant afford a lawyer or the fees to file bankruptcy ! I don't know what they would gain by taking me to court and not accepting what i can afford to pay them each month . They already know my situation , no job , no house , etc . . . What will happen if they sue me ? And what if the judge orders me to pay a monthly amount or a settlement amount that i cant afford ? What will happen to me in that event ? Hopefully not JAIL ! ! ! Please help !
And i cant afford to pay a lump sum settlement either. No point in asking for that. And i do have some credit cards that im trying to pay down the balances on so i cant use the credit cards to pay the bill or i will be in over my head with those bills.. Can a judgement affect my credit cards in any way? Since they have nothing to do with these hospital bills and im in good standing with the credit card companies.
If you have no property other than exempt or protected property, you may be what we refer to as "judgment proof". What this means is that even if you get sued and a creditor takes a judgment, the judgment creditor may not be able to seize any of your assets to collect on the judgment.
You'll be happy to know that we do not have "debtor's prisons" anymore in this country so even if you owe "bank of the universe" money, they can't throw you in jail. I urge you to go talk to a bankruptcy lawyer near you because although you may not be thinking about bankruptcy now, he or she can tell you what your options are and what to expect should you eventually be sued and what you can do about it. Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation.
This answer is for informational purposes only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
First, a collection agency is big blowhard. I personally think they are a creditor's biggest waste of money because they can't do anything but aggravate a debtor.
Having said that, most states (I can't be sure of this) do not allow a collection agency to sue in their own name. They can only recommend back to the originating creditor to sue you in the creditor's name.
One purpose of suing you now is that a judgment is valid for up to ten years (in most states) and can be renewed for additional ten years (in most states). A judgment can last for a long time. You may be judgment proof now but you may not be later. Also, in most states, obtaining a judgment allows for wage garnishment which can be very problematic for you.
But, jail is NOT an option. We do not have debtors' prisons anymore. The judge will not order you to pay anything. It is is up to the creditor to seize assets that are non-exempt in order to satisfy the judgment.
You would do well to consult with a local lawyer to put yourself at ease.
By answering this question, general information is provided and no attorney-client relationship is established. For specific inquiries, you should consult with experienced counsel in your area.
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
There is no possibility of jail for unpaid medical bills. You have a number of options to help relieve you from the debt. You can try to negotiate a lump sum settlement, sometimes for as little as 25% of the amount owed. You can try to beat the debt collectors on technical grounds, send them a debt validation letter and request that they cease collections. Sit back and document any violations in state or federal collections laws and argue that they have waive the debt. You should not be dismissive about bankruptcy, debt collectors (as well as some debt relief agencies) routinely scare consumers away from filing bankruptcy citing the fact that it could damage your credit rating for several years. Unfortunately, if you are behind on your bills and swimming in debt, chances are good that your credit rating may already be damaged. Bankruptcy will probably not make things any worse. The fact that you filed bankruptcy, if properly explained, may be less damaging than a history of unpaid accounts. The fact that you have filed a bankruptcy will appear on your credit record for ten years. But since bankruptcy wipes out your old debts, you are likely to be in a better position to pay your current bills, and you may be able to build new credit. Still other options exist
I have some more information on my webpage: http://www.crawfordlaw.org/blog/understand-the-debt-relief-tools-available-to-you/
Stew Crawford, Jr., Esq.
Crawford Law Firm
A Full Service Law Firm Serving Individuals and Families in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
223 North Monroe St.
Media, PA 19063 (Philadelphia Area)
Medical Malpractice Attorney
There is no debtor prison in Pennsylvania. If it is only money owed, then the creditor could try to obtain a monetary judgment against you but would still have to execute on your bank account and/or personal items in order to collect. You need to make sure that you file a response if a lawsuit is filed. I do not know all of the facts, but I do not believe a judge would be able to order a payment plan unless it is a criminal matter and it does not sound like one. You can ask the collection company to stop calling you and only communicate in writing. Pennsylvania is very debtor friendly and some people are truly judgment proof. You need to take this matter seriously, but I think you might be worrying a little more than you need to.
Noah Paul Fardo, Esq.
Flaherty Fardo, LLC
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