How can a hospital collect debt?

by Angel
(Troy, MI)

My husband has about $35000 dollars worth of medical bills from about 5 years ago before we were married. They served him once, he did not show up, then I'm pretty sure they tried to serve him again.

My question is, first is there a way to find out what happened during the court date (or whatever they call it for debt)? What usually happens at court dates for debts? Is there anything he can do now? Can they take money from OUR savings? or just his? Can they garnish his wages?

We live in Michigan if that helps, any reply would be greatly appreciated.

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Nov 05, 2010
medical debt lawsuit
by: Gerri


It sounds like the first question you need to answer is whether the medical provider or collection agency went to court and obtained a court judgment against your husband. You should be able to find this out by checking his credit reports at If there was a court judgment entered against him, then it likely will appear on his credit reports. It's not foolproof, but it's a pretty reliable way to check this.

if there is a court judgment against him, then I would really encourage you both to meet with a bankruptcy attorney to find out what the creditor can and cannot do to collect from you. You need to find out what income and property you own is safe from your creditors, and what may be a risk. A bankruptcy attorney can help you sort through this and the first consultation is typically free.

I would give you the same advice even if there is no judgment against your husband. According to my sources the statute of limitations for most consumer debts in Michigan is six years. If that's correct, you may find it the creditor or collection agency intensifying their efforts to serve him before the statute of limitations expires on this debt.

It would be much better for both of you to meet with the attorney now, so you at least know what your options are if he has served and must go to court over this debt. It's a large enough amount that the hospital or the debt collector will probably want to pursue every avenue they can to try to collect at least part of the amount due. If they succeed in getting a judgment against him, they may try to go after property or wages, so again it's a good idea to know what might be at risk here.

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