Details of the case are complex. Went to ER in 2012. Estimate for (uninsured) service was $1100, bills jumped to $4200 after leaving hospital. I was working with the county to help assist with the bills for nearly a year before they told me I was denied. The bills went to collections at that point. The representing attorney/creditor basically advised me I had to pay per their requirements or nothing else was acceptable. They later sued and were issued a judgement for over $6k. There is now a writ of execution in place. Desperate & looking for legal assistance. Single parent, low income. Not only is this nearly 50% penalties/interest, the hospital never even found out what was wrong with me. I owe something, yes, but $6500 from $1100. How do I defend myself as an individual?
It may be too late to do anything about the underlying judgment. They sued you, got a judgment and are now entitled to collect. Bankruptcy may not help, since this is a debt for medical services. But you may want to talk to a bk attorney any way, especially if you have a lot of other debt.
You should promptly file a claim of exemption. That may reduce the amount of money they can take. Contact a debt collection attorney asap for help. You should be able to find one that will give you a short, no cost consultation.
Unfortunately, the time to dispute the amount of the bill was during the collection lawsuit. If you did not answer the complaint or litigate that case, you cannot now dispute the amount.
If you are low-income, your best option may be to file a claim or exemption after the judgment creditor attempts to levy your bank account or garnish your wages. If you have questions about how to do this, contact a local legal aid office or a debt collection defense attorney.
If you have other debts you might consider a chapter 7 bankruptcy, which could discharge all of your unsecured debts including this one. (Medical debts are frequently discharged in bankruptcy.) Talk to a local bankruptcy attorney about this option.
This answer is for general information purposes only and is not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is intended or formed by the posting of this answer. Law Office of Lisa J. Espada * San Francisco, CA *
Based on information provided, may be too late to set aside underlying judgment.
Additional fees and charges which have been added are large. Carefully examine each one to ascertain it is correct. Creditors often make mistakes and over charge.
Immediately file Claim of Exemption to avoid execution of writ and garnishment, levy, other collection activity.
Review all pleadings with BK counsel.
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