Medical Bill Attorneys & Collections
Dealing with a medical debt collector can be one of the life’s most stressful experiences. Harassing calls, threats, and use of obscene language can drive you to the edge. What’s worse, a medical debt collector may embarrass you by contacting your employer, family or neighbors. You may even be hounded to pay a medical debt that is not rightfully yours. Sure, debt collection agencies have a job to do. Even so, there are limits on how far a medical debt collector can go. For that, you need to hire a medical debt collection attorney.
Know your rights. Learn to recognize abusive from medical collection attorney. Even if you owe a medical debt, a collector owes you fair treatment and respect for your privacy. Also, be aware that even if the collector’s conduct does not exactly match the language of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, that collector may still be liable for its conduct. We explain your rights under federal and state laws.
Ask questions and learn specifics from medical debt lawyers. Often the first contact with the medical debt collector is a telephone call from a representative, a pre-recorded message asking you to call a mysterious toll-free number or a letter. When a collector calls or you call back, get as much information as possible. Ask for the name of the caller, the collection agency, the creditor, and the address and fax number for sending correspondence. Also, ask about the amount the collector claims you owe. In this first call, you should also tell the caller you expect written the follow-up if you have not yet received a notice in the mail.
If your first contact with a medical debt collector is by telephone, tell the caller that you want all future contact in writing rather than by phone. You can also instruct the collector not to call you at work or at all if that is your choice. Make notes of your first conversation and start to keep a file. See Item 5 of this section. It is important to follow up on such requests in writing right away. Your letter should include requests about contact or other matters discussed in your first telephone contact. Note: If you notify the collector not to contact you at all, it is entitled to contact you one more time to explain how it intends to proceed. Also, you should tell and write the collector that you are the only person to be contacted. Since the agency is well aware of your location, there is no need to contact your employer, neighbors, relatives, or friends to find out where you are. If you are an employer, friend, neighbor, or family member who is being contacted by a collector, you can write the collector and tell it to stop contacting you.
Start and keep a file. At the first contact from a collection agency, start a file. Your file should include dates and times of phone conversations, pre-recorded messages the collector leaves on your voice mail, and when you send or receive correspondence, notes of conversations along with the name of the collection agency employee. Copies of correspondence you send, as well as those you receive including envelopes. Collectors are supposed to give you written a notice of the collection action five days after you are contacted by phone. Copies of messages those are abusive or overly intrusive.
Complain about abusive collection practices. Under the federal FDCPA, a collector is not allowed to make idle threats, express or implied (for example, “We must get your payment no later than the day after tomorrow”), or use abusive or profane language. A collector should not discuss your account with third parties or use the phone to harass you. Your state may also have a law that sets standards for debt collectors.
Some situations may call for the assistance of a medical bill settlement lawyer. You may sue in state or federal court within one year