Statute of limitations on hospital bills

Hospital Bill Collection Out of Statute of Limitations?

I received a collection letter from a hospital bill from 2/7/12. If I understand my SOL, this debt is too old for collections. What are my choices?

Learn how debt collection laws can help you!

This website does not provide legal advice.

All information is for educational purposes only.

Copyright 2007 - 2017 by Mary Reed and Gerri Detweiler.

What is the New York Statute of Limitations to Bring a Lawsuit to Collect a Consumer Debt?

Statute of limitations on hospital bills

The answer is more complicated than you might think.

Section 213 (2) of the CPLR states that the statute of limitations to commence an action upon a contractual obligation or liability, express or implied, except for residential rent overcharge, certain transactions described in the Uniform Commercial Code, or warranties on new homes, must be brought within 6 years after the cause of action accrued. This statute of limitations includes all “consumer credit transactions,” such as credit cards, and is calculated to run from the date of the last transaction (either the last credit purchase, or the last payment made, whichever occurs last in time).

New York’s highest court, the Court Appeals, has recently held that in a debt-collection law suit, if the creditor to which you originally owed the debt is located in another state, then the place where the injury occurred to the creditor is that other state. In such cases, New York’s borrowing statute, CPLR 202, is invoked and the statute of limitations of the creditor’s home state will apply. Major creditors, such as Citibank, American Express, and Discover Bank are almost always based outside of New York. As such, these creditors, and the third-party debt collectors that purchase their delinquent accounts, are subject to the statute of limitations of the home state of the creditor.

The most common state in which creditors incorporate is Delaware, which has a 3-year statute of limitations for debt-collection lawsuits (10 Del. C. В§ 8106). So, for example, if you had a Discover Bank credit card that you stopped paying on January 1, 2012, and Discover Bank transferred your delinquent account to a third-party debt buyer, such as Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, then since Discover Bank is a Delaware Corporation, Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, would have until January 1, 2015 to sue you for the debt. Since Discover Bank is a Delaware Corporation, a 3 year statute of limitations would apply to your New York Discover Bank credit card debt, even if your credit card debt is transferred to a local third party debt collector, such as Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC.

Both creditors and debtors are frequently uninformed as to this rule, and often proceed to litigation under the assumption that New York’s 6-year statute of limitations applies, when, in fact, it might not.

If a debt collector has convinced you to make any payment at any time after you first stopped paying the debt, the plaintiff’s time to sue you starts to run again. For example, if your last payment was made in December 2008, but you agreed in December 2011 to start making partial payments and, in fact, made a payment to the debt collector, the statute of limitations will now be renewed, starting from that 2011 payment, which means the creditor can have up to January 2018 to sue you. There is also something called “tolling,” which means suspending or pausing the statute of limitations. This can occur during any time in which you are not within the state. In other words, if you leave the State of New York for a period of time and then return, the statute of limitation does not run during the time you are out of state. It begins again from where it left off when you return.


If the court finds that the statute of limitations has run and the action is time barred, the case will be dismissed, and the creditor will be prohibited from ever suing you again to collect the debt.

Mississippi Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

Maybe you didn’t think about a lawsuit after your fender bender, but it’s been six months and your back still hurts. Or maybe the auto body shop didn’t fix your truck properly the first time around. Can you sue the other driver for your hospital bills or rehab? What if the auto shop doesn’t agree to do the repair work for free? And if you can file a lawsuit, how long do you have to file it? It turns out that even the best cases have a deadline for filing in court. Here is a brief overview of civil statutes of limitation in Mississippi.

Civil Statutes of Limitation

State statutes of limitations set the time limit for filing lawsuits and other civil actions. The Magnolia State’s statute of limitations laws vary depending on what type of case you have, and can range from one to seven years. The “clock” will begin ticking for a case on either the date of the incident or the date you discover the harm.

Statutes of Limitation in Mississippi

Mississippi’s civil statutes of limitations are listed in the table below.

Injury to Person

Mississippi Code 15-1-35

Mississippi Code 15-1-35

Injury to Personal Property

2 yrs. from act or discovery

Mississippi Code 15-1-36

Collection of Rents

unwritten contract based on employment: 1 yr.

Mississippi Code 15-1-29

Collection of Debt on Account

Mississippi Code 15-1-29

7 yrs. domestic and foreign judgments

Mississippi Code 15-1-43, 45

Courts have statutes of limitations in order to create as much fairness and predictability as possible when people file civil lawsuits. An injured party is given a specified amount of time in which to decide whether or not to file a legal claim to recover damages. At the same time, statutes of limitation guarantee that a person doesn’t have an unfinished legal matter hanging over his or her head indefinitely. These laws are the legal system’s attempt to create a deadline for legal conflicts so that all the parties involved can plan and prepare accordingly.

Mississippi Civil Statute of Limitations Laws: Related Resources

As noted above, even if you have a good case, the court may dismiss it if it is filed past the statutory deadline. You can consult with a Mississippi personal injury attorney if you would like legal assistance regarding a civil lawsuit or statute of limitations matter. You can also find more resources and information on this topic by visiting FindLaw’s Statute of Limitations section.

Learn More About Your Case with a Free Claim Evaluation

In the Magnolia State, even if have a valid claim for civil damages, your case may be barred if you don’t file your lawsuit within the required statutory limit. Don't be shut out of the Mississippi legal system because you missed a deadline. If you have been physically or emotionally injured, or have a non-injury related claim, you can have your personal injury claim reviewed for free by a skilled injury attorney.

Does Old Medical Debt Go Away After 7 Years?

Statute of limitations on hospital bills

If you ever needed health care while uninsured, had a plan with a hefty deductible, or you accidently used an out-of-network provider you might ask the question, “does old medical debt ever go away?”

The size of the leftover doctor, hospital, or dental bills can be staggering and often come as a surprise. While unpaid medical bills may disappear from your credit report after seven years, your obligation to make payment never expires.

Medical debt has a statute of limitations. However, the rules work differently that you imagine.

  • The length of time unpaid medical bills stay on credit reports
  • How the statute of limitations affects your obligation to repay

How Long Do Unpaid Medical Bills Stay on Your Credit Report

The length of time that unpaid medical bills stay on your credit report could be seven years or could be ten years, or several combinations in between. The remains on your report for a certain amount of time depending on how it arrived in the first place: collection accounts stay for seven years, and public records can last on your report for up to ten years.

However, even after the record of your medical bills disappears from your credit report, your obligation to make payment does not go away. It stays an obligation to the day you die.

Do you qualify for debt relief? If you owe more than $10,000 in medical bills that you cannot repay, a settlement program could help make the problem go away. If the collection agency agrees to accept less than full payment, they also agree not to sue you in court. This has huge ramifications for your future credit score – as you will shortly see.

Unpaid medical bills on your credit report stay until the patient or insurance company pays them off, or until you reach a settlement with the debt-holder. When you break apart this statement, you find three distinct exceptions.

  1. Unpaid medical bills no longer appear after the insurance company ultimately pays the claim. The bureau will purge the record immediately.
  2. The unpaid status of a medical bill comes off when the patient pays the balance in full. The bureau immediately updates the status to “paid collection account.”
  3. The unpaid status of a medical bill no longer appears after the patient and creditor reach a settlement agreement. The bureau immediately updates the status to “paid settled.”

Paid medical bills do not affect your credit score. Both the “paid collection account” and “paid settled” do not fall off your credit report until seven years after the date of first delinquency. However, the scoring algorithms ignore this information.

Medical collection accounts that remain unpaid stay on your credit report until seven years after the date of first delinquency. During this time, the entries have a serious negative impact on your ability to qualify for new loans.

Successful disputes of medical collections accounts mean that the negative information comes off your file immediately. Expect your rating to improve quickly. However, the process is not easy. You must document that the information is erroneous.

Unpaid hospital bills that remain outstanding stay on your credit report until seven years after the date of first delinquency. However, because hospital bills are frequently very large, patients often find that they appear much longer.

A patient spending just one night in the hospital can wind up with a huge, surprise invoice they simply cannot afford to pay. Collection agencies are far more likely to file a lawsuit to compel payment of the amounts outstanding are very large. They often seek a judgment to place a lien against personal property such as your home, or wages.

An unpaid hospital bill can easily morph into a judgment if the collection agency wins a lawsuit. The court will file the judgment with the county, which then becomes a public record. The bureaus routinely collect and post public record filings.

The judgment will not come off your credit report until seven years after the filing date. The filing date can be years after your hospital admission, and years after your date of first delinquency on the original invoice.

An unpaid hospital bill can also easily morph into a bankruptcy filing, which will not fall off your credit report for seven or ten years. Studies show that major health events trigger half of all bankruptcies. Filing bankruptcy could make your obligations disappear, or allow you to extend your repayment timeframe.

However, doing so will come at a cost to your ability to borrow money. Bankruptcies are also public records, which the bureaus routinely collect and post to consumer reports.

  • Chapter 7 does not purge until ten years after the filing date
  • Chapter 13 does not come off until seven years after the filing date

Does Medical Debt Have a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is the length of time a party has to take legal action. When it comes to medical debt, the hospital or collection agency has a certain amount of time to file suit in order to collect the outstanding amounts. The length of time, and what happens after its expiration depends mostly on where the person lives.

A debt consolidation loan can provide the funding needed to avoid litigation. You will have to pay interest and fees. On the other hand, you can avoid having a public record hurt your rating for an incremental seven years.

Statute of Limitations by State

Statutes of limitations vary by the type of contract and the state where the debtor resides. Most medical bills represent written contracts. Many hospitals require new patients to sign a medical patient financial responsibility form, which serves as the written contract. These forms often spell out the patient’s responsibility to understand their health insurance coverage and make payment on any leftover bills.

  • Oral contracts – a verbal agreement to pay back the money
  • Written contracts – a document signed by you including terms and conditions
  • Promissory notes – a written agreement with a specified interest rate, and timeframe
  • Open-ended contracts – has a revolving balance that you can repay and borrow again

California Passes Bill to Eliminate Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations

National Beat Reporter

On Sep. 28, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that eliminates the 10-year statute of limitations on rape and other sexual assault charges.

The bill was authored by State Senator Connie Levya (D-Chino) and co-sponsored by San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos and the California Women’s Law Center.

“ SB 813 tells every rape and sexual assault victim in California that they matter…regardless of when they are ready to come forward, they will always have an opportunity to seek justice in a court of law,” Levya said in a statement.

Law professors, public defenders and the American Civil Liberties Union compose the opposition. One of the professors includes associate dean at the UC Berkeley School of Law, Ty Alper. In Volume 60, Number 4 of the Duke Law Journal, Alper wrote that removing the statute decreases the pressure on law enforcement and prosecutors to act quickly.

The bill emerged from last year’s controversy over allegations that comedian and actor Bill Cosby had raped multiple women over the span of multiple decades. Dozens of women came forward accusing Cosby of rape but were unable to pursue criminal charges.

“Some of my clients who were accusers of Mr. Cosby testified with me before the California Legislature in support of the Justice for Victims Act,” said Attorney Gloria Allred, the counsel that represents dozens of Cosby accusers.

“It puts sexual predators on notice that the passage of time may no longer protect them from serious criminal consequences for their acts of sexual violence,” Allred said in a statement .

Other states have followed suit in changing criminal legislation. Colorado doubled its statute from 10 to 20 years. Nevada extended its time from 4 to 20 years after a testimony by one of Cosby’s accusers.

Despite efforts by the Cosby accusers, the new legislation will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017 and will not apply to cases before that date.

“Even though it was too late for these accusers,” said Allred, “we decided that we should work to change the law to help others.”