After an illness or injury, you may be left with thousands of dollars in medical bills that you cannot afford to pay. Unfortunately, if you don't take initiative to pay your medical bills, you may end up with a judgement against you. This means that a creditor has taken legal action through the court system to enforce you to pay what is owed, and it can definitely be a scary situation. If you have learned that you have a judgment against you because of owed medical bills, your first steps should be to get in touch with a lawyer and find out all of the ways that the creditor may try to collect.
The creditor may be able to obtain a property lien.
Once a creditor receives a judgement against you for medical bills, they may have the option of working with the county to obtain a property lien. A property lien basically means that you must pay the creditor what is owed or they are entitled to at least a portion of your property. For example, if you have a home that is valued at $100,000 and you owe $10,000 in medical bills, you will not be able to sell your home until the balance owed is paid and the lien is removed.
You could be facing wage garnishment.
Wage garnishment is perhaps the most common way creditors will go after a debtor after obtaining a judgement because of owed medical bills. Wage garnishment laws can vary from state to state when it comes to how much a creditor is allowed to obtain from your paychecks. For example, in the state of Kentucky, a creditor is only allowed to take 25 percent of your disposable earnings, which is the earnings available after taxes and other deductions. Or they can take the amount your disposable earnings go beyond 30 times minimum wage, depending on which is less.
A creditor may be able to obtain court-appointed installment payments.
If the creditor presents a case to a judge, the judge may implement a payment schedule that is then handled by the court system. You will be sent notice of the required payment arrangements and if you do not make a payment, you will then have to go to court. Because this arrangement is ruled on by the judge and goes through the court system, if you miss a court date because of a missed payment, you could be held in contempt of court and a warrant will be issued. While not all states have a designated debtors jail, in these situations you could easily be facing jail time if you don't follow the judges orders and make your payments.
For help from an attorney, contact a lawyer such as Sinsheimer, Stuart J.Share