If I’m being sued for a debt and can now pay, who do I pay?

UPDATED: Feb 11, 2012

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If I’m being sued for a debt and can now pay, who do I pay?

I received a civil summons stating that the county hospital is suing me for debt I incurred in 3 years ago. I did not have insurance at the time. I would be happy to send a payment to them or set up a payment plan but who do I pay the hospital or the court?

Asked on February 11, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Kentucky


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your payments would be made to the hospital or the hospital's collection agency if the account was sent to collections.

You should also file with the court an answer to the complaint  (the complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons).  If you don't file an answer to the complaint with the court and serve it by mail on the hospital or the hospital's attorney within the time set forth in the summons, the hospital will get a default judgment against you. The judgment may include attorney's fees and would be more than the hospital bill.  A default judgment means you have lost the case.  If that happens, you will need to file a motion to set aside the default.  If the judge grants your motion to set aside the default, the case is then back on track and litigation will continue.  Unless there is a settlement and the case is dismissed, it would be advisable to file your answer to the complaint to avoid these problems.  At the law library, look for answer to complaint in the index of Pleading and Practice.  This will give you the general format for an answer to a complaint.  An answer to a complaint denies the allegations in the complaint.  At the end of the answer is the verification which you sign and date under penalty of perjury.  The verification attests to the veracity of your statements in the answer.  File your answer to the complaint with verification and an attached proof of service with the court and mail a copy to the hospital or the hospital's attorney. The proof of service verifies the date of mailing.  You can either use a court form proof of service or you can write your own.  If you write your own proof of service, it just says that you are over eighteen and the attached documents were sent via first class mail unless stated otherwise to ______ (name and address of hospital or hospital's attorney) on _______ (date).  You sign and date at the bottom.  The date you sign should be the same as the date of mailing and the same date you file your documents with the court.

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.

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