My bank account was garnished for unpaid medical bills, but I never received a court summons regarding a judgement.

Asked over 1 year ago - Minneapolis, MN

The total debt is $2500, and they "Garnished" my savings account, checking account, and my son's checking account for a total of $839.04. Can they do this without warning me in a legal document? Can they continue to take out an amount that is close to half my monthly income, as they did this time? Also, is it too late to make arrangements and get the judgement off my credit?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Jeremy Judson Cobb

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Many potential problems here. You'd have to consult a lawyer and bring in all of the documents you have. I'd be very surprised if you weren't served at one point with a summons and complaint.

  2. Michael J Corbin

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . They did not garnish your bank accounts - they levied them. Garnishment is typically for wages. As for whether they can do this, a couple of thoughts. First, if it was a public hospital (like HCMC, for example), they typically turn over the debt to the Dept. of Revenue for collection, and they can initiate a levy without a lawsuit. Otherwise, you were probably served with a small claims petition (or they couldn't find you and the summons was published somewhere - check court administration). They can take whatever is not exempt that they find in your bank accounts, and they could also actually initiate a wage garnishment. Your son's account must be joint with your name on it, making it your account as well. You can always try to make a deal, but they have a judgment and don't have to accept anything other than payment-in-full.

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  3. Dorothy G Bunce


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Although you say you weren't served with any legal documents, if a creditor isn't able to find you to deliver legal paperwork to you, the court can authorize some kind of "substituted service" in most communities. Have your bank & your employer provide you with a copy of the garnishment paperwork and follow this trail of breadcrumbs to the court file. Many courts now post all of their records on the court website so you may not even have to pay for parking to obtain a complete record of what has happened. If the records don't make sense, you will want to consult with a local attorney for additional advice. Hope this perspective helps!

  4. Michael Niels Bruno


    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Many states have abbreviated litigation avenues for the collection of a debt only. These include confession of judgment which would not require service of a summons. However - you would have had to sign the confession at some point. The facts you present also indicate a rather high garnishment. I suggest you gather as much documentation as possible and contact an experienced attorney in your area.

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