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Collections Law/7 year old hospital collection, possible bankruptcy

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Question
This week I received a call from a collection agency notifying me I have a medical debt from 2007 and 2008 they are collecting on for $4600 (circa 2007/8)These are from a county hospital in Mississippi, the collection agent said this bill is not covered under statute of limitations. I did not admit or affirm the debt, in fact I was not even aware of it. 2 days later, the same collection agent called back and said since her conversation w me on Monday that my case had been reviewed as appropriate to move ahead with law suit, told me my wages will be garnished at 25% of my income. She kept trying to have me admit the debt. I did not, she said they are mailing an itemized statement from the creditor and that I only have a few days to respond with payment arrangements or they can sue, my pay will be garnished. I can't let this happen or I wouldn't have money to care for 2 children or even afford daycare to work. Should I go right to bankruptcy? What are my best options? I need to know the proper process and what to expect. I feel like I'm in a time crunch to fix this. please advise and thank you in advance!

Answer
Normally, statutes of limitations in Mississippi are not longer than 6 years.  However, if the hospital is government owned, then it is covered by mississippi code 15-1-51, which means that there is no statute of limitations.  If it is a private hospital, the statute of limitations will cover it.

I don't know what amount the bill is.  If you owe several thousands of dollars, then it would be worthwhile to sue.  

You could threaten to file bankruptcy, but you have not told me if you own anything that would not be covered by an exemption (e.g., house or car or whatever).

The issue of filing bankruptcy really depends on how much you owe them (and other creditors) and what assets you have.  I assume that you live in Mississippi (?)  Exemptions depend on your state of residence.

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Michael T. Hertz

Expertise

I can answer most questions concerning bankruptcy, whether business or personal, including questions by debtors, creditors, persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcy estates, and the like. Also have expertise in tort law, French and Canadian law.

Experience

Practiced bankruptcy for 27 years in California and taught bankruptcy for three years in Maine. This included Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12 and 13 cases, representing debtors, creditors (secured and unsecured), bankruptcy trustees, creditors committees, and persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcies. Debtors included persons with virtually no money up to large corporations.

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Inactive member of the Bar of the State of California. Nonpracticing member of the Bar of Massachusetts. Formerly member of the Maine Bar and conseil juridique in France. Certified by National Committee on Accreditation in Canada.

Publications
Georgetown Law Review; California Bankruptcy Journal; Maine Law Review; Dalhousie Law Journal; University of Toronto Law Journal.

Education/Credentials
Harvard Law School (J.D. 1970; cum laude) and Pomona College (B.A., 1967; cum laude)

Awards and Honors
Selected as a "Superlawyer" in 2005 and 2006 for Northern California.

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