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havingabadyear

Pre-Trial Conference, what to do?

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I'm in Colorado. I filed an answer for a summons and have a pretrial conference set for June 7th. It will apparently be just me and the Collection Agency Lawyer, no judge.

A little background on this case, the original debt was a hospital bill through XXHealth, 2007, for which we got a bank loan in connection with XXHealth. So they were paid. We went 60 days late on the loan pmt, and XXHealth repurchased the loan. They sent a letter in 2010, and I lost track of it and did nothing further. Now a local CAgency has the account, demanding the remaining balance near $4000 plus almost double that in interest and fees.

I filed an answer denying the charges, and included a few affirmative defenses. I don't have it with me at the moment but can post later if needed.

The summons had no mention of the bank loan, only the OC, XXHealth, the date of the hospital service, and the correct amount that remained on the loan after they repurchased. Last pmt on the loan was in 2010, but I did mention the SOL on Goods and Services, which is 3 years in Colorado, thinking they might look at the 2007 date and dismiss. Not likely, but I added it just in case.

If it's just me meeting the lawyer, what should I prepare for? Obviously he will attempt to get me to settle, which in all honesty I would prefer to do. But not for $7000+!! Should I bring my own settlement offer and start with that, or should I refuse settlement and ask for disclosure? Again, I'd rather not go further in court, as I"ve heard here that Medical cases are different and this is no JDB.

Thanks for any input, I am learning a lot here, and starting on my road to fixing our debt/credit issues.

Edited by havingabadyear
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I just read that someone else had asked for Discovery before this pre-trial conference, others wait until they go there. Does anyone know the best way to proceed on this? I don't want to wait around for too long if I should do it first.

When I spoke with the court clerk, she said she knows this lawyer is generally good to work out settlements with. If I ask for Discovery before the conference, will they still try to settle right away, or will doing so irk them enough to pursue trial/judgment?

Again, my goal is to settle on the original amount without the interest/fees they have added.

Thanks!

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When you receive medical care at a hospital or a doctor’s office, it’s rarely the case that your health plan will pay 100 percent of the charges. Even with a co-pay thrown in, there will usually be a balance remaining.

Sometimes, health care providers, in their eagerness to collect this remaining balance, jump the gun by turning an account over to a collection agency and/or submitting adverse information to a credit reporting agency before the person obligated on the debt has been given a reasonable chance to pay. Because of consumer complaints about such actions by health care providers, the Colorado General Assembly enacted a law a few years ago intended to curb the practice.

Under this law, a health care provider must give the person responsible for paying a remaining balance not fewer than 30 days’ written notice before declaring the account delinquent, turning a collection agency loose to try to collect the debt and/or submitting adverse information to a credit reporting agency.

This notice must be sent to the last known address of the party responsible for paying the bill. It must state the amount owed; the name, address and telephone number of the health care provider; where the payment can be made; the date of the services rendered; and the last date by which payment must be received to avoid collection agency activity and/or adverse credit reporting.

As a consequence of an obvious legislative compromise, a health care provider failing to give the required notice does not suffer dire consequences. All it needs to do to obtain legal forgiveness is to call off the collection agency until a proper notice has been sent.

Also, if adverse information has been prematurely sent to a credit reporting agency, the health care provider must assist the person whose credit record has been tarnished in correcting the adverse information.

An amendment to the law enacted a year after it went into effect added a provision that says a violation of the law cannot serve as the basis for a claim under another statute, the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Resourceful lawyers had undoubtedly figured out that, although they had no useful claim against a health care provider who violated the law, they could, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, go after the collection agency to which an account had been assigned.

If you find yourself being pursued by a collection agency, or your credit history has been damaged because of a debt owed to a health care provider in a circumstance where you were not first given notice of the debt and 30 days in which to pay, this requirement-to-give-notice law might help provide you with additional time in which to satisfy the debt and/or to get adverse information removed from your credit report.

*—

Jim Flynn is a private attorney at Flynn Wright & Fredman LLC in Colorado Springs. Reach him at jtflynn@fwflegal.com

Edited by racecar

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Verification of Debt

Upon receiving this notification, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (as well as specific debt collection laws in each state) the consumer is able to request what is known as verification of the debt. Within 30 days, the medical service provider must deliver to the consumer written confirmation of the debt. Most state laws permit the consumer a 30-day period to pay the debt or to make arrangements for a payment plan after receipt of the verification.

Summons and Petition

If a consumer fails to pay the debt after verification by the medical creditor, a lawsuit is possible. By law the lawsuit is filed either in the jurisdiction in which the medical services occurred or where the debtor lives. Normally these types of lawsuits are filed in the local county or district court.

The debtor must be served with a summons and petition to be subject to the jurisdiction of the court in regard to the lawsuit. Normally a sheriff's deputy serves these court documents on the debtor. The summons advises that the debtor has to respond to the lawsuit. The petition details the specific allegations associated with the medical debt.

Opportunity to be Heard

The laws on being sued for medical bills provide the debtor with the right to be heard prior to judgment. The debtor is entitled to a trial if she has a substantive reason to dispute the debt. (For example, the defendant in the case is not the person responsible for the debt.)

Judgment

Once the debtor makes her case (again, normally at a trial), the court enters judgment. Should the court find in favor of the plaintiff seeking payment of medical bills, an order is entered requiring the debtor to pay the debt.

Collection on Judgment

The creditor can proceed to judicial collection against the debtor after the judgment is entered. The steps that a medical creditor takes in this regard include garnishing a debtor's paychecks and bank accounts.

Debt Validation for medical debt

To:Creditors Name

Address:

Acct: #- XXXXXXXXXXX

From: my name

my address

To Whom It May Concern:This letter is being sent to you in response to a notice sent to me on May 5th, 2012. The alleged account and debt are disputed in their entirety. Validation is requested.All telephone calls to me are inconvenient. Please only communicate with me by US Mail only.

Edited by racecar

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In finance, default occurs when a debtor has not met his or her legal obligations according to the debt contract, e.g. has not made a scheduled payment, or has violated a loan covenant (condition) of the debt contract. A default is the failure to pay back a loan.[1] Default may occur if the debtor is either unwilling or unable to pay their debt. This can occur with all debt obligations including bonds, mortgages, loans, and promissory notes.

They will sue you in civil court study the rules of civil procedure.

Edited by racecar

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