What does the collection agency need to provide me to prove the collection account of my wife’s medical bills are my responsibility? 9 Answers as of April 14, 2014

I called the hospital to get itemized statement and they told me they have no records for the 2010 medical bill. How do I get the verification? The collection agency just sends me a computerized print out of the total amount due but so far they have not sent me any validation or verification. What should I be looking for?

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GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
Depends. Anyone in Colorado who is trying to collect a debt must give you the opportunity to request verification of the debt. In which case you would be looking for something you signed. However, Colorado also has a law called the "Family Purpose Doctrine". That law stands for the proposition that if a spouse incurs a debt that helps the family (e.g., medical treatment, food, shelter, etc.), then the other spouse who may not know anything about the debt is also liable for the debt. Again, the obligation has to help the family (for example, gambling debts don't count under the family purpose doctrine).
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 4/14/2014
Timothy Casey Theisen, P.A. | Tim Theisen
As long as you were married and living together, you are liable for your spouse's debts: 519.05 LIABILITY OF HUSBAND AND WIFE. (a) A spouse is not liable to a creditor for any debts of the other spouse. Where husband and wife are living together, they shall be jointly and severally liable for necessary medical services that have been furnished to either spouse, including any claims arising under section 246.53, 256B.15, 256D.16, or 261.04, and necessary household articles and supplies furnished to and used by the family. Notwithstanding this paragraph, in a proceeding under chapter 518 the court may apportion such debt between the spouses.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 4/10/2014
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
You should buy an hour of attorneys time to at least get an opinion as to the information you have. Generally you do not have to pay a bill unless the obligation can be proven.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/10/2014
Law Offices of Eric W. I. Anglin
Law Offices of Eric W. I. Anglin | Eric W. I. Anglin
You need to request verification of the debt to include the actual medical bills. Make sure that you have provided written notice of the disputed debt and the request for documentation.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 4/10/2014
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
If the collection agency cannot substantiate the debt then you do not have to pay it. This information is only intended to give general information in response to an inquiry. It does not establish an attorney client relationship. This response is only based upon the limited facts presented and is merely intended to assist you in determining if you should contact an attorney to provide you with legal advice.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/10/2014
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Certified letter back to them explaining the proof is insufficient. Ask for the document that makes you liable.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/10/2014
    SmithMarco, P.C.
    SmithMarco, P.C. | Larry P. Smith
    The law is not so clear on what specifically satisfies the requirement of validation of a debt. Most courts in this local circuit provide that they just have to give you enough to identify the account so they can show the person that they are contacting that they are the correct person. They do not have to give all the details that most people think they are entitled to. Chances are, the print out is going to suffice. However, I would be very skeptical of paying a bill where the provider does not have any evidence of a visit.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/10/2014
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    You are 100% responsible to pay for your spouse's medical debts. However, federal law makes it a crime to disclose the details of another person's medical records, which is why the debt collector has no information about the nature of your Wife's treatment or the breakdown of the bill, which would reveal essentially the same information.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/10/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    The hospital likely sold the account to the collection, thus claiming no record anymore. Ask the collection agency in writing for the verification within 30 days of notice from them. They are then obligated to provide the basis for the underlying obligation.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 4/10/2014
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