What to do if an ambulance company has gotten a collection agency to pursue me for a bill that I never myself received or knew about?

The agency has billed my father instead of myself. I am an adult and was at the time of my ambulance ride but previously as a minor my dad was the name billed for my medical treatment when I had used this ambulance company once before as a minor. So they had him on record but they still divulged information that I didn’t want him to know about. It never billed me for my ride, only my father. Do I have a case?

Asked on February 13, 2013 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You may have a couple of different remedies-- depending on additional factors.

The first is the fact that they disclosed information to a third party without your authorization.  If they disclosed medical information (not just general billing information), you may be able to pursue a HIPPA claim.  If the information was limited to billing information, you may have claim for a violation of state or federal debt collection practices acts. 

Second, the collection agency is more than likely trying to collect an extra fee for their efforts.  If the ambulance company never billed you at the address that you provided, then you may be able to get part of the expenses associated with the bill.

If you owe the bill, you still need to pay it.  However, if you gave them correct billing information and the mis-billing was on their end, you may have a viable complaint against the ambulance service or the collection agency-- as noted above.  You may or may get very much by way of damages if you did not suffer any damages as a result of the actions-- but you can still consider pursuing the claim.  You listed your question in the "medical malpractice" section, but what you really need is a consumer law attorney or health care law attorney.  They are related areas, but the consumer and health care law attorneys will be able to review all of the facts of your case in relations to patient and consumer rights.... whereas a med mal attorney would look more to the quality of the treatment that you received.  Many will offer free or inexpensive consultations.


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