Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Texas

Being billed for medical services performed when I was a minor

When I was 16, I had surgery at a local hospital. My mom signed all financial papers, and was responsible for 20% her insurance did not cover. Due to family emergency she was unable to pay and is going bankrupt. I just found out now that I am 18 the hospital's collection agency is billing me for it and has placed two negative remarks on my credit report. Can they do this? Also were they legally allowed to share my information and social security number given as part of hospital admission, not billing, with the collection agency, even though it was my mother's account, without notifying me. I was never notified that I had become responsible for the account either. Also if I do not owe money are they required to remove the listing from my credit report? One representative told me I was not responsible for the money but they only way I could remove the listings from my credit was to pay the bill. Later a second representative told me I owed the money. If anything they are telling me is wrong how do I get them to correct it?

Asked on 6/05/03, 10:33 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Paul Velte IV Paul C. Velte IV, Attorney at Law
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Re: Being billed for medical services performed when I was a minor

First of all, there's no way you are liable for the reason that you were a minor when the contract was formed, (nor were you a party to it; it was between your mom and the hospital). I am no expert on the laws of credit reporting, but I do know they are rather strict and generally provide penalties for violation. It is something you should certainly look at to see. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act generally requires them to get permission to access your credit and also to give you an opportunity to pay--and dispute--a debt *before* reporting it. Sounds to me like they violated just about every rule they could. After checking the law, if I were you I'd sue them to have it retracted and for slander of your credit. Unfotunately, unless you can show a particular loan was denied due to the bad credit references, your damages will be minimal. Go apply for a car loan and when you're denied, get the reasons in writing. :) Just an idea. If you're in the Austin area, look me up.

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6/06/03, 6:44 pm

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