New Member
ma23
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-26-2007
Summons on old Medical Bill, How to Respond? Go for PFD at same time?

I received a summons on 10-29-08 from Sentry Credit (Collection Agency)  It is on an old Medical debt, 2 or 3 years old.  I have 20 days under Washington state law to answer.  The amount on the summons is:

 

Principal:  $217.xx

Interest:   $ 22.xx

Filing Fee: $  53

Service Fee $50

STATUTORY attorney fee  $200   

Total of $543 and change

 

I called Sentry and asked them what my options are.  They said pay in full before the 20 days is all i would have to do, they would take care of the paper work with the court.  They said that the amount is not negotable , as they have already incurred the attourney costs and paid somebody to serve the papers.  They also encouraged my to drop it off in cash at their office, as i only live a few blocks from them.  I said i would pay next payday.  After i hung up, them wanting cash seemed to be a red flag.

 

I am not sure that the principal amount is right, i cant find the original bills and collection notices. Can I file an answer denying the amount is correct?  I am looking at THIS LINK as a guideline for filing my answer.  Basically im am trying to avoid a default judgement while i figure out if i have to pay the whole amount.  Will my verbal agreement to pay come back to haunt me?  Nothing is in writing so far.  I cant afford an attourney and i have read about people on this board successfully filing answers on their own.

 

I am prepared to pay the whole amount if need be.  Can i try for a PFD at the same time?  When i file the answer i also need to give Sentry a copy of it right?  Do i give them a written PFD offer then or do i wait?

 

I figure i have till the end of the week to file the answer.  I would be gratefull for any tips or advice.

Valued Contributor
demed
Posts: 1,255
Registered: ‎05-12-2008
Re: Summons on old Medical Bill, How to Respond? Go for PFD at same time?

You should seek attorney advice - but here is some thoughts:

- yes, you should send DV

- if it's medical, you might try to go quickly through the HIPAA process (i don't know enough about it)

- you must certainly file a notice of appearance, but you might want to wait to file an answer until you have more info

- you might want to be ready to dispute the amounts, and the interest, and be ready to argue in front of the judge to mitigate the costs down to the original debt

- if the CA never notified you of a collection in process with your rights under FDCPA 809, you might want to file a counterclaim for FDCPA violation

Feb 08 550s - Oct 08 700s
Thank you MyFico!
New Member
ma23
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-26-2007
Re: Summons on old Medical Bill, How to Respond? Go for PFD at same time?

What exactly do you mean by send DV?  How do i start that process?

 

HIPPA?  did a few searches and still don know what that is really

 

What happens after i file a notice of appearance?  will a court date then be set?

 

The CA did notify me of a collection in process, but the amounts vary.

 

My main goal is this is to get a PFD, and reduce the amount some if i can.

 

Thank you for the resonse, and please other people chime in if you have anything to add.

 

 

Moderator
guiness56
Posts: 22,406
Registered: ‎01-17-2008
Re: Summons on old Medical Bill, How to Respond? Go for PFD at same time?

I am also in WA state.  I have done a lot of research on medical debt in this state and found some interesting information.  It may not apply to you but,  along the way some one else might be able to use the info.

 

A hospital is not required to accept partial payments, wait for full payment, or hold off on suing because you can't afford to pay your debt. In addition, public hospitals (not private hospitals) may add a "collection fee" of up to 50% of the hospital bill upon referral of your account to a collection agency. A hospital is not, however, allowed to sue you if you qualified for Charity Care, have a pending application for Charity Care, or are appealing a Charity Care denial. Additionally, if the hospital has agreed to your making small payments, and you have fully complied with this agreement, then you have a good argument that the hospital has entered into a contract with you. If that is the case, the hospital should not refer your account to collection or sue you as long as you do not violate the contract. It is always best to get such agreements in writing.

 

Valued Contributor
demed
Posts: 1,255
Registered: ‎05-12-2008
Re: Summons on old Medical Bill, How to Respond? Go for PFD at same time?

ma23,

 

I recommend you review the sticky posts in the various areas of these forums to gain a basic knowledge of terminology and processes.

 

HIPAA for example, is outlined very well in a sticky post at the top of this forum section.

 

If you got a summons, a court date should already be set - if you don't file notice of appearance you risk a default judgment.

 

If the collection amounts vary, and you are in WA, you should read RCW 19.16.250 sect. (8)(c) that has details about how the collector should behave.

 

PFD is fine, but you SHOULD do it with the OC to maximize benefit - once again, read the sticky posts to understand your options.

 

I understand you're pressed for time, but you need to invest some of your own time to gain enough knowledge to evaluate your options. Consulting an attorney is also a MUST when the case is going to court. www.naca.net has pretty decent lawyers in WA to get you started.

 

good luck! 

Feb 08 550s - Oct 08 700s
Thank you MyFico!