Can a minor at the age of 14, be held responsible for a non-emergency medical bill if there parents didn’t pay but signed the consent?

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Can a minor at the age of 14, be held responsible for a non-emergency medical bill if there parents didn’t pay but signed the consent?

I had a non-emergency MRI performed at an outpatient hospital facility. When I turned 21, I noticed there was a collection judgment on my credit for the unpayed bill. My mother signed the consent but never paid the bill. I also was never advised of this bill. Can I be held responsible?

Asked on February 12, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, unfortunately, minors can be held responsible for medical services long after they have been incurred.  You need to get to the bottom of the matter.  You need to write to the credit bureaus and dispute the debt.  They have an obligation to inquire from the reporting agency as to the matter and if they do not get a response within 30 days then they have to remove it from your report.  When you write the dispute indicate that you were 14 years old and signed no contract with the creditor.  Also, check on the time the judgement was rendered and the judgement itself.  If you were not properly served with legal papers on the matter you may be able to have it vacated or attack it on the basis that the statute of limitations has run to collect it.  Good luck to you.


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