Do I Need a Lawyer for Medical Bills?

Chloe Meltzer

December 01, 2021

Summary: Are the debt collectors coming after you for medical bills? Find out if you need a lawyer for medical bills and how to recover from medical debt.

When medical debt is sold to collections, it is because a collection agency has either purchased the debt or been hired to collect the debt by the original creditor. Typically this debt will then be reported to one, or all, of the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

Once your medical bills are 180 days past due, you will see them on your credit report. This period is only given to those with medical debt, to attempt to resolve any issues involved. At this time you can also make arrangements to pay off the bills or get things fixed if you believe they are incorrect. Otherwise, you may be taken to court.

Respond to debt collectors in 15 minutes with SoloSuit.

If you have an unpaid medical debt, then you will most likely see an impact on your credit scores. This does not necessarily mean that you need a lawyer for medical bills. If you have a past due account your credit score will go down, but you have a few options.

What you also need to understand is what your situation entails. If you are being sued for medical debt, it most likely means that you have not paid your debt off and are possibly ignoring the person trying to collect on it. If this is the case, avoid ignoring and, instead, do the following.

  1. Gather evidence: If you can collect documentation regarding what you gave paid, or if you even owe the debt, this is a good start. You can also ask for proof that you owe the debt and force the debt collector to prove your responsibility. If they cannot, they cannot legally sue you.
  2. File your dispute: If you want to dispute because you think it is inaccurate, then you can do so with any credit bureau that's reporting the error.
  3. Continue with communication: The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that credit bureaus follow up on all credit reporting error disputes. Additionally, the Fair Debt Consumer Practices Act (FDCPA), governs how a debt collector may speak with you. They might violate this act and provide you with a counterclaim against them to bring up in court.

Don't be intimidated by debt collectors. File a response with SoloSuit and win your case.

Understanding the debt collection process and your options

When you owe on a debt and that debt is sold to a collection agency, they will then report it to the credit bureaus. This can stay on your credit history for seven years, from the original date that you became delinquent. This date is the date that the account first became late. Paying off your debt is the best option, but even if you pay it you may still have it on your credit report. It will show paid, but it will remain there for years. If you are unable to pay them, then you may need to look into other options.

Payment plans. Depending on your circumstances, some medical offices may be willing to set up a payment plan for you. If this is the case, you might be able to avoid collections altogether. In other cases, this may not be possible because it might have already been sold off to collections. If your debt has already been sold to a collection agency, then contact that agency to work out payment arrangements. This will allow you to pay off the debt at your own rate.

Settlement. Paid collections are looked at better than unpaid collections, and if you are unable to pay the bill completely, you might be able to settle. Settling is when you pay less for debt and typically pay it in full. Settlements are not considered a positive thing on your credit score, but settling the debt is better than leaving it unpaid.

Statute of limitations. One good way to avoid needing a lawyer for medical debt is to understand the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a law that governs how long a creditor can legally attempt to collect on a specific debt. This period varies based on the state you live in, and the type of debt. Despite this, you will still technically owe the debt even after the statute of limitations has expired. This means it will stay on your credit report. All the statute ensures is that you cannot be taken to court any longer, and therefore definitely do not need a lawyer.

Check your credit reports. After you have gone to court for debt or paid off the account, ensure that the collection agency has notified the reporting companies. Your account should be updated to note that you paid it off fully. You can also check this by requesting a copy of your report but all three agencies, once yearly for free. If you find anything inaccurate then be sure to dispute it. Especially if it has been a few months since you paid off your debt. Your account should be updated at that point.

Use SoloSuit to make the right affirmative defense fast.

Rebuilding credit after medical collections

Rebuilding your credit when you have a collection account on your report can be difficult, but there are a few steps you can take to improve your credit. For example, pay off all of your past-due debts. If you paid off your medical account, then the next step is to work towards others. At least attempt to bring any past due accounts to a “current” status.

Another tip is to try and make all your payments on time. This will help you to improve your payment history and get your scores higher in the future. As time goes on this will affect your scores less and less. You can also work to pay down any credit card balances you have. Your utilization rate is huge for an impact on your credit scores. This will help you raise it.

Overall, you do not need a lawyer to fight medical debt. Simply gather information, look into any violations of the FDCPA, and ask them to prove your responsibility for the debt. As a final straw you should consider settling, but always avoid ignoring the debt collector.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


Get Started


>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

How to answer a summons for debt collection in your state

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

Guides on how to beat every debt collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.

Win against credit card companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get answers to these FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendant's Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouse's Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

You're Drowning in Debt — Here's How to Swim

Help! I'm Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Here's What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review

Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?

How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?

How Long Does a Judgement Last?

​​How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?

How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court