Medical debt occurs when a healthcare provider determines that a patient has not met his or her repayment obligations for healthcare treatment. Sometimes there are good options for handling medical debt outside of bankruptcy. A San Diego Medical Debt Lawsuit Attorney can help.
Uninsured Emergency Room visits are a type of treatment that gives rise to a medical debt that can then potentially result in a lawsuit. Contrary to popular belief, medical debt can be created even when a patient is covered under some form of healthcare insurance plan. After a medical debt has been created, it is common if not routine for hospitals and HMO’s to assign the debt to a collections agency. The collections agency will often typically report the debt to the credit bureaus. However, an increasing trend is for collections agencies to pursue patients in court through medical debt lawsuits.
In San Diego Superior Court, a medical debt lawsuit is most likely to be filed by the debt collector CMRE Financial Services, Inc., which typically retains the Law Offices of Franklin J. Love to handle litigation. In 2014, CMRE filed 136 lawsuits against San Diego consumers seeking to collect medical debt, and in 2015, CMRE and the Law Offices of Franklin J. Love filed 118 similar lawsuits. These numbers are believed to represent a relatively small fraction of the total amount of accounts that are placed with CMRE for collections.
As with any debt collection lawsuit, the Plaintiff bears the burden of proof to show the existence and amount of any debt. A frequent issue that arises in medical debt lawsuits is the liability of a non-treating spouse for treatment received by the other spouse or a minor child. In California, this issue is resolved by reference to Community Property law and Family Code Section 910. Generally speaking, though a spouse who did not enter into an agreement to receive healthcare services is not the proper defendant to name in a medical debt lawsuit, their assets or wages can nonetheless be seized by creditors to the extent that those assets or wages constitute community property in which the treating spouse has an interest. Another issue that is particular to medical debt lawsuits relates to whether the healthcare provider should have considered the debt that is the subject of the lawsuit to be charitable care.
If you have been served with a medical debt lawsuit or even just dealing with issues related to medical bills, it makes sense to consult with a knowledgeable San Diego medical debt lawsuit attorney to go over your options. The Jake A. Walton Law Firm is focused on these issues and is happy to help.