I was served a summons to go to court about a medical bill I incurred in 2006. I called the attorney and asked if they had the original documents, and if the statute of limitations had expired. She didn't have the documents and she said they had been granted judgement in 2012, so I was responsible for the debt. The hearing is a 4 hour trip from where I live now. I can't afford to travel there or to pay the debt, which is nearly $4,000. Please advise.
A judgment is a different situation than just a standard debt. You are right that the statute of limitations can be a defense to a medical debt. However, after a judgment is obtained, the judgment is valid for a specific period under state law (often 10-20 years). With this judgment, the creditor (or the creditor's attorney) can try various ways to collect. One of those ways is having you appear in court to answer questions about your finances, income, assets, etc. An attorney may be able to help you move the date or be able to see if opposing counsel will be willing to have you answer written questions instead of traveling. But, you do have to remember, the attorney is within her rights to have you present at the court.
I would advise you talk to a lawyer in your area about options. You may be able to settle the debt for less or at least set up a reasonable payment plan. If you have significant other debts, you may have other options available, like bankruptcy.
Answers and comments provided here are only for general discussion. My comments are not to be considered legal advice and they do not create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult the attorney of your choice concerning the details of your situation.
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