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What Is the Statute of Limitations on Medical Bills in Georgia?
Many people in the state of Georgia deal with different types of debt. The average consumer may have unpaid loans, credit card bills, and medical debt.
In many cases, people are financially unable to pay their debts in a timely manner. When a debt is unpaid for an extended period, creditors may seek legal recourse against the consumer.
This type of litigation may result in a judgment, allowing the creditor to take money from the consumer involuntarily. Through a court judgment, the creditor may garnish the person’s wages, seize their bank accounts, and more.
If you are facing this type of debt, you may wonder about the statute of limitations on medical bills in Georgia. To discuss your options in the face of mounting medical debt, reach out to a skilled legal professional.
The accomplished team at Morgan & Morgan understands how to effectively fight for the rights of consumers. Do not let a credit holder take legal action when they do not have the right to.
To speak with one of our specialists, complete the easy-to-use contact form on the Morgan & Morgan website. We will gladly review the facts of your case to help you move forward.
Common Types of Debt
There are many different types of debts that consumers may hold. The most common examples of consumer debts include:
- Credit card debt
- Medical debt
- Student loans
- Late utility bills
- Bank overdraft fees
- Automobile loans
- And more
If you are facing any of these types of debts, it may be helpful to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. In many cases, debtors will move to collect payments that consumers do not have.
Outstanding Medical Bills in Georgia
Before we discuss the statute of limitations on medical bills in Georgia, it can be helpful to examine the nature of medical debt. When someone is injured or ill, it is vital that they seek appropriate medical treatments.
Unfortunately, the cost of medical services can be significant. Oftentimes, pursuing medical care can result in mounting bills for the patient.
Even patients with health insurance may experience financial challenges. In most cases, insurance does not cover the entire cost of medical care. This leaves patients with an unpaid portion of their medical bills.
Many medical care facilities do not offer long-term payment plans for patients. Because of this, medical bills, invoices, and debts are often passed to debt collections agencies.
When this happens, patients may experience severe financial consequences. This is especially true if an organization decides to take legal action against them.
Medical Bills as Contracts
Usually, medical bills are considered to be contractual in nature. This is the case even without the presence of a signed physical contract.
However, most patients do sign paperwork accepting the responsibility of payment for their medical care. Some patients are unable to sign this paperwork because they are incapacitated, or the situation is a medical emergency.
Different states approach these instances differently. For instance, some states allow interest to be placed on unpaid medical balances. But in almost all cases, medical bills qualify as contractual.
This is true even if the patient was unable to consent to the agreement for medical care at the time it was provided. The law frames these situations as constituting an “implied” contract.
Many states allow companies to place interest on unpaid medical bills and debt. Also, state laws determine the legal interest rate on medical bills and debt.
It is important to speak with a skilled legal expert to understand the laws surrounding medical debt in Georgia. When you are wondering about the statute of limitations on medical bills in Georgia, consult the accomplished team at Morgan & Morgan.
Our experienced lawyers know how to protect the rights of patients and those facing significant debt. You should not pay for outstanding medical debts that have expired.
A knowledgeable legal representative will advocate for you and ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your case.
Lawsuits to Recover Medical Debt
Many unpaid medical bills are passed on to collections agencies. When this happens, consumers may face threats of legal action and other forms of intimidation.
When attempting to recover payments, creditors must adhere to the regulations outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This piece of legislation outlines the rights of consumers in relation to debt holders.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are required to take many different steps. For instance, the creditor must identify their organization and inform the consumer that they are a debt collector each time they communicate.
Creditors are required to send written communication to the person’s home within five days of their first contact. They must also notify the consumer about the amount that is owed and inform the consumer about their right to dispute the debt.
The FDCPA also prohibits debt collectors from engaging in certain behaviors. For instance, medical debt collectors are not allowed to contact debt holders after 9 pm or before 8am by phone.vThey are also not permitted to call the debt holder’s place of employment.
The following types of conduct on the part of debt collectors are legally prohibited by the FDCPA:
- Using profane language
- Threatening arrest
- Threatening criminal prosecution
When a debt collection agency representative engages in any of these behaviors, a skilled legal representative can help. It is also prohibited for debt collectors to seek payment after the statute of limitations has expired.
When the statute of limitations on medical bills in Georgia has expired, consumers should not face unreasonable consequences. It is vital to speak with a skilled attorney at Morgan & Morgan.
Our renowned legal experts have years of experience fighting for the rights of consumers. You should not be victimized by pushy debt collectors or their representatives.
Medical bills can create significant financial problems for individuals and families. If you need help understanding your financial and legal rights, schedule a free consultation with the legal specialists at the firm of Morgan & Morgan.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations on Medical Bills in Georgia
In Georgia, there are state laws that are intended to protect debtors from collecting parties. One of the most important state laws is the “statute of limitations.”
A “statute of limitations” is a legal time limit. Once this time limit has expired, the matter is considered settled by law.
In other words, a creditor is prohibited from pursuing legal action toward a debt after the statute of limitations has passed. This statute protects debtors from the consequences of debts that are very old.
The statute of limitations is meant to give creditors a reasonable amount of time to pursue a civil judgment against their debtors. Typically, the statute of limitations begins on the date of the debtor’s last completed payment.
Many collectors will attempt to get patients to pay a small amount toward their medical debt. When this happens, it resets the statute of limitations for the debt.
Breach of Contract Suit
Because medical debt is usually considered to be a contractual obligation, creditors often file “breach of contract” suits against their debtors. In these cases, the collector is considered to be the plaintiff. The debt holder is considered to be the defendant.
After the collector has filed this type of suit, the debtor will be notified. The defendant will be given a specific court date on which they must appear.
The defendant is permitted to make their case at this court date. With the help of a seasoned legal representative, the debtor may attempt to show why they should not be held responsible for their outstanding medical bills.
Oftentimes, the defendant will claim that they do not owe the debt because the statute of limitations has passed. If the debtor is unsuccessful, the court will render a judgment. Following this, the creditor has several options. These include:
The creditor is permitted to garnish the debt holder’s wages. Up to 25% of the money that the debtor makes may be taken and allocated toward their outstanding debt.
Garnishing Bank Funds
Debt collection agencies are also legally permitted to take money from the debtor’s bank accounts. The creditor can take as much as is owed from the person’s savings or checking accounts.
Writs of Fieri Facias
Debt collectors in Georgia are allowed to record a lien against the debtor’s property following a judgment. As a result, the collector may be able to seize the person’s personal property.
If the debtor attempts to sell their assets, they may be unable to transfer ownership until they have paid their debt in full.
The Statute of Limitations
In the state of Georgia, the statute of limitations on contractual agreements is six years. Because of this, most medical bills are void six years following the last payment made by the debtor.
The creditor must seek legal recourse for a civil judgment within six years. If they fail to do so, further attempts to recover the money will be unsuccessful.
If you are being harassed by a collector in Georgia, reach out to the team at Morgan & Morgan. When the statute of limitations has passed, you are not responsible for outstanding medical debt.