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ScottyMacEsq
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My husband & I are involved in a Civil Lawsuit over an $18,000

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My husband & I are involved in a Civil Lawsuit over an $18,000 hospital bill which we can't afford to pay. To make a long story short my husband had a massive heart attack approximately June of 2012. In January of 2012 he had the classic signs of a heart attack and was admitted to the hospital. Because I lost my job in January of 2011 and my insurance was not carried to the end of the month, the new insurance company in 2012 said they did not have to pay for his hospital stay because we did not have 12 months of continuous coverage. The hospital completely missed my husband's heart condition and diagnosed him with acid reflux. So months later he had a massive heart attack and nearly died. If there is an email address I can send you letters with the full details. Can we ask for the case to be dismissed because they missed his heart attack or counter sue?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer.

A debt incurred is not "negated" by negligence on the other side. That is, the hospital bill that you incurred is for the services provided for the heart attack. Now there could be a "counterclaim" against the hospital for an entirely different "cause of action", namely "medical malpractice" and the failure to diagnose.

Note that a counterclaim is not a basis to dismiss the matter. A dismissal is where you can prove, as a matter of law, that their case does not hold any water, and that's mostly procedural. Such situations would be if they sued too late (outside the statute of limitations), or sued the wrong person, or sued in the wrong jurisdiction (state or county). But when fault still has to be assessed by the "finder of fact" then an answer, any defenses, and a counterclaim would need to be filed, rather than a motion to dismiss.

Generally, there are four elements necessary to bring a medical negligence claim: “(1) the health care facility or practitioner owed the patient a duty to exercise due care, (2) the health care facility or practitioner ‘breached’ that duty, (3) the breach of duty resulted in injury to the patient, and (4) the patient sustained legally recognized damages as a result.” Now I certainly don't have the facts in front of me to give any indication as to the probabilities of the success of your case, if any, and I would suggest that you contact a medical malpractice attorney in your area to see if your case has merit.

That being said, you need to contact an attorney in your area that deals with medical malpractice cases. Go to www.lawyers.com or www.legalmatch.com to find an attorney in your area. You should be able to find one that will give you a free initial consultation and better advise you of your rights, any problems with your case, likelihood of success, how courts are treating cases such as yours in your area, and what you should do next.

Again, the case for the medical bills and any medical malpractice would be completely separate, even though they might "cancel each other out" eventually. One is founded in "tort" law (the malpractice claim) and one in contract law (the bill). It would be similar to a situation where the owner of a body shop ran into your car, and you had him fix your car. While you might have a claim against him for the damages to your car, if he were to actually fix the car and charge you for that, it would be a separate claim. In such a matter, the court would not dismiss the contractual claim for the bill, but could offset it by a counterclaim by you. The same idea applies here, but it does get a bit more complicated in that it's a medical malpractice case, which requires some expert testimony and other procedural and evidentiary expertise, which is why you would want to contact an attorney to weigh the strength of your case.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate this answer either a 3, 4, or 5 (good or better). Please note that I do not get any credit for this answer unless and until you rate it that way. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!
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Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok, I understand what you're saying. But, we still have to face the judge Monday. Since the hospital has not been getting back with us, can we ask for more a continuation to try to come up with a settlement of some sort with the hospital?

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.
Yes, depending on where it is in the trial. You can certainly ask for a continuation. Whether the judge grants it or not is up to the judge, but if there's some reason to grant it (that you've tried work something out and they're not responding, etc... then it's more likely it would be granted).


Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate this answer either a 3, 4, or 5 (good or better). Please note that I do not get any credit for this answer unless and until you rate it that way. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

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ScottyMacEsq
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