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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    5

    Question Being Sued Five Years Later

    My question involves small claims court in the state of: Florida

    I was recently served a summons from the hospital I gave birth to my son at, over five years ago. They are claiming all medical care received by my son was not paid for. I had insurance for him and I am positive we gave the hospital this information. Five years later they want $1800 plus court costs and laywers fees. My court date is 6/4, however I live in NC now and it would be very difficult for me to get down there. My questions are:

    1. Has the statute of limitations ran out on this since it was so long ago?
    2. How can I be sure the hospital is sueing me, could it be a debt collection lawyer that bought this case?

    Please note I have not heard a word of this until now. Thank you in advance for any information you can provide!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Being Sued Five Years Later

    The SOL on a medical debt in Fl. is 5 years. It would be calculated from the date of last activity (ie date of last payment)

    Is the summons from the hospital & not a lawyer for a collection agency? If you don't answer the summons or show up in court, they will get a default judgment against you.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Being Sued Five Years Later

    Thank you for your reply.

    As far as date of last payment, there never was because I was never aware this debt was even owed (thought insurance company payed).

    The summons is from the actual hospital, but I did recieve a letter from thier "attorney". Can the attorney still be a debt collector that bought this debt from the hospital even though the actual hospital is sited on the paperwork?

    I guess my best bet now is to get a continuance until I can get down there and use the SOL defense.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Being Sued Five Years Later

    If the summons was from the hosp. & you got a letter from *their* attorney, they probably are the one suing you. However, w/o seeing the actual summons/letter I can't say for sure.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Being Sued Five Years Later

    How were you served? You can either defend in Florida or wait until they get a judgment and come after you in NC. The you can go to court and try to get the judgment set aside due to lack of jurisdiction. An attorney in Florida can also use this defense or you can request to make a special appearance to contest jurisdiction.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Being Sued Five Years Later

    Per the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) a creditor may file a lawsuit in either the state where the contract was signed or where the debtor currently lives. They can choose the state that has the shorter SOL.

    Hayley - as lwpat asked, how were you served?
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Being Sued Five Years Later

    I can't edit above post - too much time has elapsed.

    I meant to say the creditor can choose the state which has the *longest* SOL.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    811

    Default Re: Being Sued Five Years Later

    Argue on the SOL.
    $1800 for a birth is CHEAP!
    When you note the insurance should have paid be prepared to see the documents you or your spouse signed noting that insurance is between you and your insurance company AND the hospital bills it as a courtesy. You are 100% repsonible for the bill.
    Be prepared to answer some hard questions regarding why you did not pound your insurance company regarding their payment and why you did not have a red flag thrown up when you didn't recieve an EOB!

    Bob

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,995

    Default Re: Being Sued Five Years Later

    Please note I have not heard a word of this until now. Thank you in advance for any information you can provide!!
    If you can argue SOL, it'll be the easiest way. If not, here's additional issues you can use to defend yourself. I was placed for collections by a hospital for an a $5,500 emegency room visit.

    - What type of plan do you have, HMO, or PPO? I have a PPO plan, and the hospital has to file a claim with the insurer. Did they do that on a timely basis?? Was the paperwork correct and complete?? If it was rejected by the insurer, what was the reason?? You should know all of this because if they dropped the ball, why should you pay.

    Normally, a hospital takes down all "insurance information" on admission, and should know to file a claim

    - My hospital apparently did file the paperwork on a timely basis, but apparently my insurer was short of funds. While it is true, as mentioned, that the hospital can hold me responsible if the insurer failed to pay, state law here in NY State carved an exception, i.e.. if the insurer cannot pay for financial reasons, "it is illegal" for health providers to sue, or place patients for collections, as there is a special state fund and procedure established for that purpose.

    You'll need to know what the state law is in this regard.

    - After complaint to a local "consumer reporter", the insurer promptly paid, but only $3,700 out of the total $5,500, leaving $1,800. The hospital again placed the remainder for collections. Fortunately, I also filed a complaint with the NY State Insurance Department, and I was notified by the state that the claim was paid in full on the "insurer's negotiated rate" (the $3,700), based on a report filed with the state. Had I not filed a complaint, I would not have known that. That means the bills they've been showing me ($5,500) are for patients that walked in the door with no insurance, i.e. the "posted rate". Insurance companies pay their own rate, the "insurer negotiated rate".

    So the question is, "is what you are shown the insurance company's rate"??

    - I also had a presence of mind when paying my "co-pay", to mark the check "payment in full"

    The collection agency gave up on me when I told them:

    -- They cashed a check from me marked "paid in full".
    -- The insurance company paid in full as far as they're concerned, told the state that, and I'm not responsible for billing disputes.
    -- The insurance company was in financial difficulty, and state law "prohibits" placng the claim for collections, even if I owe it.


    You situation may be different, but if I were you, I'll check out:

    -- How the claim was placed originally. Was if filed, rejected, what??
    -- Are you covered for that procedure??
    -- Are there any state laws that regulates timely filing of claims between health provider and insurer.
    -- How is the $1,800 computed?? Is that the rate the insurance company pay, or by individuals??
    -- Under NY State Health law, I can demand arbitration before special panels, and all collection activities has to cease. Any such procedures in your state.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,652

    Default Re: Being Sued Five Years Later

    When did you move to North Carolina?

    95.051 When limitations tolled.--

    (1) The running of the time under any statute of limitations except ss. 95.281, 95.35, and 95.36 is tolled by:

    (a) Absence from the state of the person to be sued.

    (b) Use by the person to be sued of a false name that is unknown to the person entitled to sue so that process cannot be served on the person to be sued.

    (c) Concealment in the state of the person to be sued so that process cannot be served on him or her.

    (d) The adjudicated incapacity, before the cause of action accrued, of the person entitled to sue. In any event, the action must be begun within 7 years after the act, event, or occurrence giving rise to the cause of action.

    (e) Voluntary payments by the alleged father of the child in paternity actions during the time of the payments.

    (f) The payment of any part of the principal or interest of any obligation or liability founded on a written instrument.

    (g) The pendency of any arbitral proceeding pertaining to a dispute that is the subject of the action.

    (h) The minority or previously adjudicated incapacity of the person entitled to sue during any period of time in which a parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem does not exist, has an interest adverse to the minor or incapacitated person, or is adjudicated to be incapacitated to sue; except with respect to the statute of limitations for a claim for medical malpractice as provided in s. 95.11. In any event, the action must be begun within 7 years after the act, event, or occurrence giving rise to the cause of action.

    Paragraphs (a)-(c) shall not apply if service of process or service by publication can be made in a manner sufficient to confer jurisdiction to grant the relief sought. This section shall not be construed to limit the ability of any person to initiate an action within 30 days of the lifting of an automatic stay issued in a bankruptcy action as is provided in 11 U.S.C. s. 108(c).

    (2) No disability or other reason shall toll the running of any statute of limitations except those specified in this section, s. 95.091, the Florida Probate Code, or the Florida Guardianship Law.

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