Your legal questions answered by the experts of Carter & Valle Law Firm.
Question submitted 11/10/2010:
I have been getting a call from a Collection Agceny about an oustanding bill from UNM Hospital what can I do if I don't have all the money right now to send- I told them I could sent $ 20 a month -they told me I couldn't do that -that I had to pay it all right now. Please let me know legally what my options are.
Answer from CD Carter of Carter & Valle Law Firm:
This is information, not advice as I can't be your lawyer. However, there are some things that will help you. If the amount is large enough, they could sue you. But, as you point out, they can't get what you don't have.
They will look for assets that are not exempt. Unless you own property, etc. they are not likely to pursue you that way for just the judgment and hope you win the lottery. If they believe you will have a recovery for your damages that include their bills, they will likely file what is called a lien on that recovery. That would be when something like a motor vehicle collision were someone else was at fault and there was insurance coverage.
UNMH usually handles their own collections. If there is a third party collection agency they would fall under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You can Google that and see what protections it could provide you as to contacting you, your employer, neighbors and the like. The problem you describe is one of trying to predict a creditor's actions. Lawyers prefer to respond when they know the extent of the problem.
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