Defending yourself from a lawsuit from a collection company?

Asked 3 months ago - Ellensburg, WA

I had to go to the hospital E.R. about a year ago. The hospital fees were never paid and now the collection company is suing me. There are a few irregularities though which are:
1) the notice states that I had 20 days to defend myself, however it was delivered a month after being issued.
2) The hospital allowed me to go and did not take any actions and or dismissed a medical condition I had (borderline lethal blood sugar levels). That lack of action almost killed me about a week ago and landed me in the hospital again.

The fees to pay are not that bad but I wonder: is there any way to defend against this that won't leave me on the street?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Robert A. Wolle

    Pro

    Contributor Level 7

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 1. Take this to an attorney right away. The clock is ticking and the collection agency may have entered a judgment against you already. It is a common practice to serve the pleadings (Summons and Complaint), but not file with the court until the 20 or so days to respond have gone by, and then go in for a default judgment.
    2. You need advise on how to respond. The response may include more than answering each paragraph, but include defenses as well as any claims you may have, as you hint at potentially excessive/illegal interest or penalties.
    3. you may have other alternatives as negotiating. Some hospitals are required to provide discounted or free services in some circumstances.

  2. Joseph Kenneth Lacome

    Contributor Level 13

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 1) The notice means you have 20 days, from the time you're served, to reply to the lawsuit, not 20 days from the time the lawsuit was filed. (It's rule 4 of the Wa. Civil Rules).

    2) Whether they committed medical malpractice or not isn't relevant, since the issue is over the debt that was created when you were using the hospital's services.

    The lawsuit won't put you on the streets. Although that doesn't mean you shouldn't fight the suit.

  3. Lyliane S Couture

    Pro

    Contributor Level 9

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to hire a lawyer to defend you. Any lawyer should be able to find out the status of the case against you and file a notice of appearance on your behalf. Just filing a notice of appearance will protect you from having a default judgment entered against you without your knowledge.

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