If I received a warrant in debt what should I do?

The charges relate to a hospital stay 3 years ago. Despite my efforts to correct the billing department they continued to not file and/or misfile my insurance claims. By the time I was told that I could have filed them myself, the insurance company refused to pay due to time limits for filing. I can pay the debt if on a payment plan, but feel that I shouldn’t have to pay it, based on the hospitals error. At this point I would be willing to work out some sort of agreement but don’t feel I should be responsible for the entire debt.

Asked on March 12, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia


Darren Delafield

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Every cotract includes a duty of good faith and fair dealing. You are alleging that the hospital breached the contract by failing to properly file for insurance benefits on your behalf. When did the hospital promise to do so? Is it in the admission paper? Good faith and fair dealing is requiared by law even if the verbal or written contract does not state that the hospial will exercise good faith.

The restatement of contracts (a legal statement of the law respected by Judges) states in section 237 that you can defend your breach of non payment by proving the hospital breached the contract first.

You must appear in court on the court date to begin the process of defending yourself. You should ask the Judge to order a Bill of Particulars. This will require the hospital to state in more detail why it has filed the Warrant in Debt. You should file a Grounds of Defense.

The Virginina statute of limitations to collect a medical bill can be either 3 or 5 years. The hospital may have waited to long to file the Warrant in Debt. The Statute of Limitations is an affirmative defense. This means you must claim the defense in your Grounds of Defense.

Go to http://www.courts.state.va.us/forms/district/civil.html and look for Bill of Particulars
[Form DC-441]
Instructions Grounds of Defense
[Form DC-442]

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.