I am being sued for a medical bill. Upon examination in the emergency room I had told the doctors to not do anything because I had no money or insurance. They proceeded to operate. Also, they allowed the person that had stabbed me to wait in my recovery room after I requested that security remove her.
The law allows you to sue, but I suspect that you really want to know whether it is likely that you will recover, and the answer to that is probably not. If your injuries were anything other than superficial, the hospital was legally obligated to treat you despite your lack of consent.
Hope this perspective helps!
Who would you sue? The hospital, whose medical staff treated you? A debt collector trying to collect payment on the hospital bill?
What would you sue the hospital for? Medical malpractice -- for healing you? Breach of contract -- for treating you after you showed up with an injury?
Whether you have a claim against the debt collector (if there is one) is a Q for a debt collection attorney in your state. That individual can best evaluate whether you have an actionable legal claim, as opposed to just a complaint.
Attorney Horan is licensed to practice in Massachusetts. The response provided here is informational only, not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
You may have counter-claims available to you, but I'd suspect that they won't likely be successful. Law requires doctors to provide services in emergency situations, so your instructions 'not to do anything' aren't likely to insulate you from the costs incurred through treatment. In addition to counter-claims, you may also have certain affirmative defenses which might prove somewhat more helpful, but even then I wouldn't think they would ultimately be successful.
You should consult with a debtor/creditor attorney in your area for a consultation. If it's already gotten to the point where the medical facility (or collection agency) is filing suit, you may not have much negotiating room left, however. But depending on your financial status and situation, the company may ultimately not be able to collect even if you lose the case, either after defending it or through a default judgment.
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How did you get to the hospital in the first place? You make it sound like you just magically appeared against your will. So I suspect you either drove yourself there, or someone brought you and you were in such a state medically that you really weren't capable of making a decision not to go or you agreed to go. In either scenario you put yourself in the hands of medical professional who had a duty to treat you the best way they thought with their medical judgement. You would have to show they were incompetent and negligent with respect to the surgery to avoid the bill and since you don't say anything like that, just that you don't like having to pay the bill, I suspect that the services where reasonable and necessary. You can avoid the debt by filing bankruptcy if you don't have significant assets. Also if you are not working and have no property you can just ignore the debt. They can't take anything from you even after they get a judgment until you have something to take and before that happens you should probably do a bankruptcy, like when you are able to work. Many forms of income are exempt and can't be garnished by a debt collector. They can't go after unemployment, disability, Social Security, SSI, Worker's compensation, welfare, and food stamps. When you work if you are working, they are limited to taking 25% of your net paycheck. Another thing about hospitals is that they will often negotiate the debt down. But it sounds like the debt may now be in the hands of an independent debt collector, who might not be as negotiable, but they usually will negotiate somewhat. So you have options for dealing with or avoiding the debt.
As for the women that stabbed you - not sure what that was about and why the hospital wouldn't remove anyone that was upsetting you. If you were stabbed I would have expected them to have reported this to the police and for there to have been a police investigation leading to an arrest. So I suspect there is a lot more to the story. However. if you were the victim of a crime then the court in prosecuting your attacker could order restitution which can include ordering that person to pay your hospital bills. You can also do a civil suit against that person. The advantage of court ordered restitution in a criminal matter is that it can be considered a criminal court penalty and may not be avoidable if the perpetrator files a bankruptcy whereas as a civil suit judgement may be more easy to discharge in a bankruptcy.
If alcohol was at the root of this violent encounter and this women was served too many drinks at a bar, there could be an viable lawsuit against the bar that served her. However any actions for injuries civil where the injuries occurred in Oregon have to filed in a lawsuit within two years from the date of injury so if this is old history, more than two years ago it may be too late to consider these alternatives.
I sincerely hope you are feeling better and can move on with your life, and no longer are involved with people that lead to violent confrontations.
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