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"You are Being Sued" letter...


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My husband received a letter with a hospital listed as the plaintiff and a lawyer and law firm listed as the plaintiff's attorney. There is no docket number or signature just the name of the Superior Court clerk typed at the bottom. The first letter arrived in the mail. A second one arrived about a week later in an envelope marked "certified mail" but no one signed for anything and there was not attached card or space for a certified mail card to be attached to the envelope. The state is NJ. Not sure how to check on the legitimacy of this. I've read that in some states like MN it is hard to know if you are being sued because a letter can be sent without docket numbers and it is hard to call the court to determine the validity. I can't find the expectations in NJ, but I believe you need to receive an actual certified letter not just one that says "certified mail" on the envelop or be served.

 

The number does not match anything on credit reports. It would take a long time to go through the explanation of benefits back through 7 years and every bill we've received from the hospital. The total we've probably owed this hospital as ourselves and parents is probably over 10k. This notice to sue is under $2000. Just trying to show that trying to puzzle together the bills included in the amount owed on this notice to sue from the EOB would be hours of work.

 

I'm also questioning what hospital would sue someone for such a small amount. I always assumed this law firm was just a CA used by the hospital, but I didn't think they were so unethical as to fake a lawsuit. 

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Go here;

https://www.courtreference.com/New-Jersey-Courts.htm

 

Look up under the plaintiff's name and/or your husband's name

 

If you locate it, check to see if they have filed a "bill of particulars"

 

What was the date of medical service?? Is the hospital in N.J.?? If the date of medical services are over 3 years ago, the claim is time barred.

 

Once you have the correct data from the court, get your EOMBs ( explanation of medical benefits) from your insurance Co. and see what was billed, what was allowed, what was paid and how much was left as your responsibility. What do you mean by ourselves and parents.

 

If it is an actual filed case and date of service is under 3 years, go to the "Help I've Been Served" forum to get legal assistance

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The searches on that page are all powered by Intelius which makes me feel like I'm giving them more information than they are giving me and they charge over $20 for the report. Was that the only way to look this up?

 

I don't see a place to enter his name or the hospital name that doesn't link to the Intelius search. I can see the name of the court, correct address, correct clerk name, etc is on the "you are being sued" document that was mailed. And it is our county of residence. But I do not see how to otherwise look up if anything was filed on their end.

 

Thank you so much for replying. I've been using your letter writing site with great success to clean up our credit reports from random medical bills that hit the account.

 

The date of the service is not on the notice to file suit. I can't be sure from our EOB which service from this hospital the suit is in reference to. Myself, my husband, and our children, all presumably with my husband as the financial guarantor, have used their facilities within the past 2+ years. No exact co insurance (our responsibility) from the EOB matches this exact amount, but it is possible if I spent hours puzzling together various co-insurance amounts from the EOB I could add up some of them to equal this amount. But there was no easy match standing out to me there. Complicating the situation is we often have insurance deny or over turn claims and the hospital resubmits or contests this and sometimes ask us to call the insurance company to do the same. So from the three claims I've seen our insurance company denied or overturned in the last two years from them, those bills do not equal what the suit is stating, but my experience with this insurance company is that they could be over turning something new or finally agreeing to pay something I'll learn about next month.

 

I will check out the "help i've been serve" just trying to figure out if we have been served. I presume if we have at that point we need a lawyer. I am just concerned, because the amount they are asking for is so low, I'd prefer to know if there is a way to pay the hospital directly and prevent a judgement from hitting our credit report.

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I apologize. I found the court filing. It is in their system. It also says my husband was served by leaving notice with him. Does that mean just mailing it was enough?

 

His explanation of benefits shows multiple billings from this hospital. In one he owes over 3k and one claim was denied saying he owes 25k. This suit is for under 2k. So I do not know how to determine what service they are actually billing for. It could also potentially be for one of our children, but I do not see any recent 2 year old or less services provided from them. 

 

I guess I'm off to the other forum. And maybe hire a lawyer? Just worried they will charge much more than the alleged 2k bill, but I'm feeling like if my husband shows up alone he will not be armed with the right questions and information to best pay and leave with as little damage as possible.

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A losing Defendant can be taxed the costs of prosecution, which includes attorney fees that can sometimes dwarf the underlying claim.  Pre- and post-judgment interest is usually awarded at somewhere between 6-10% per annum, with the rate generally being proscribed by State Codes. 

 

Mailed service can indeed be sufficient in certain circumstances.  Again, what  constituted proper service will be described in your State Rules...

 

You either need to quickly come up to speed on procedure, hire counsel or figure out what sort of a settlement you can negotiate.  MOST litigation in civil courts never sees a trial docket, just as few criminal cases ever see a trial setting.  In civil, they resolve long before that point through settlement and a dismissal with prejudice...this is ALL civil, not just debt matters.

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Thank you. Any advice on where to quickly com eup to speed?

 

So far I'm waiting on lawyers to call back.

 

 I'm debating paying the hospital directly (can only do so online but it will document with the correct account number or attempt to send in a money order certified/return receipt) and answer the suit saying it's already paid. This would be just under $4,000.

 

Or call the collection agency/plaintiff lawyer and work out their request for just under $2,000.

 

Any advice on which would be easiest to remove from credit report going forward? I'm assuming if we show the court it is paid or work things out with the CA there will be no judgement on file?

 

 And if we contact the collection agency  and ultimately pay them will they come after us for the full $4000 anyway? There is the added risk that other members of the household owe money to this hospital and they could keep filing law suits after seeing that we respond and pay.

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If you decide to pay the hospital directly you MUST use the HIPAA letter program to pay them. ( insert "a")

https://whychat.me/hipltr.html

You would then still need to file an answer with the Court

 

If the ONLY correspondence you have received is the notice of the filed claim you MAY be able to file an answer yourself with the Court and claim improper notice.

https://www.njcourts.gov/forms/10554_ans_cmplt.pdf

 

Paying the CA will not (IMO) work to stop having a default judgment filed against you.

You can try using the legal aid services if you are low income

https://www.lsnj.org/#:~:text=Apply for legal help online,-888-LSNJ-LAW.

 

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