That depends on whether the collection agency is working on behalf of the hospital, or if instead the hospital sold the debt to the agency. If they sold it, then the hospital no longer has the right to resolve the debt.
However, whether it is the collection agency or the hospital that owns the debt, you may still find that neither is willing to settle for what you want to pay. And if they can show that you incurred the debt and it was not paid, then getting a judgment should not be hard. They may just wait for the judgment. After that, they can begin garnishing wages and/or bank accounts.
The point is, depending on how likely the judgment is, and how much you are facing in a possible garnishment, it may be you that needs to be more reasonable, not them. The amount of the garnishment will be 15 to 25% of your takehome pay (excluding discretionary deductions). So if your offer of payments will not be at least 15%, then they have no incentive to settle with you.
It also may be that you need to consider bankruptcy. Many firms, like ours offer free initial consultations for bankruptcy. Depending on how much debt you are carrying, and how much income you have, as well as the size of your family, a bankruptcy may benefit you.
Tom Cesta is an Attorney with Fife & Cesta, a compasionate bankruptcy firm conveniently located off the US 60 in Mesa, Arizona. The answers given here are based on the information in the question, but for a complete answer you should have a consultation with an attorney you trust. Call now for a free bankruptcy consultation. We carefully evaluate your situation and give you real advice.
Can it be negotiated? Yes.
The longer you wait the better the deal. At the same time, the worse for your credit.
They don't have to do anything.
Bankruptcy, on the other hand, forces their hand.
There are consequences to bankruptcy and should be discussed in depth with an attorney before filing.
1845 S. Dobson Rd. Ste 201
Mesa, AZ 85202
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
Please contact me directly with document for a free 30 minute consultation to get more concrete advice. This is not legal advice. I don't have enough information to give actual legal advice. I can only take the limited information presented and provide a framework to know how your situation may turn out. I may have questions that bring up issues you did not think were important but make a big difference.
If you have the resources to settle this debt for a lump sum of cash right now, you won't get a very good deal unless you have some leverage. Get a local attorney to file an answer and make it look like you will put up a fight. That will improve your chances of getting a reasonable settlement of this matter.
Hope this perspective helps!