How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Andrea, Esq. Your Own Question
Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Andrea, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My husband just recieved certified letter in mail today that

Resolved Question:

My husband just recieved certified letter in mail today that said he is being sued by a hospital for a debt of 2000. We owe the debt and its our fault its not paid for. We are in finacial strain they called this morning and was going to cut off our electric things are bad. They cut back my husbands hours at work. I am scared so bad. How much can the judge order to be taken from our check. He makes appx 1200 every 2 weeks, expect once every other month he is off work for 7 straight days no pay. So pay check is abt 700 for 2 weeks. We live in Wv. Please help
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 8 years ago.

Good Morning,


Thank you for choosing JustAnswer. I will be glad to help you, but I need clarification on a few things:


1) Was the hospital bill incurred in the year 2000, ir was the amount of the bill $2000?


2) By "Wv" did you mean West Virginia?


I will await your reply,



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I am sorry, the amount was $2,000 of the hospital debt. It made in 2003. And yes in West Virgina
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for your reply.


Don't be worried, don't be scared, and do not despair! Have faith!!! Nobody can just take your money; they would have to sue first, get a judgement & then try and collect on the judgement.


If you would be kind enough to give me some time, I will get back to you. I have to finish up some answers for a few others ahead of you, then I want to look up West Virginia Statute of Limitations governing this bill. I do not want to give you an inaccurate answer.

Specifically, I want to know when the statute of Limitations expires on this debt. If the limitations period expired, they can't collect anything from you. But I cannot give you an asnwer off the top of my head.


Q. What month in 2003 was you husband in the hospital and incurred this debt?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
It was in June. We have already recieved the summons to court. Well we have to be there within 20 days of today to the magistrate office.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for helping me I am in process of panic attack lol
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for being patient,


Here is what I found :


In West Virginia the Statute of Limitations are as follows for the debts list:

1) Open account - credit cards are open accounts - 5 yrs

2) Written Contract - 10 yrs

3) Oral Agreement - 5 yrs

4) Promissory Note - 6yrs


If you did not sign an agreement with the hospital to pay, the statute of Limitations is 5years; This falls under Oral (nerbal) contracts and implied contracts.Hospitals do not usually have you sign a written agreement to pay. They just keep sending you bills. But you have to be sure you did not sign anycontract to pay.


If you ddid sign a contract to pay, the Statute of Limitations would be 10 years - In other words, the creditor would have 10 years to sue you to collect the date.


If you signed a promissory note, promising to pay (I.O.U) the Statute of Limitations is 6 years - Hospital would have 6 years within which to collect the debt from you. So, if the debt was incurred in June, 2003, they cannot collect at all. Just look at your paperwork to see in which category you would be in. (I rather doubt the "written Contract" theiry, but double chck your paper work any way.


The important thing to remember is Do not make any payments if the Statute of Limitations has expired. The debt is unenforcible, however if you make any kind of payment, even $5.00, you are reaffirming the debt if you pay anything on it and the sStatute of Limitations begins to run all over again.


In many instances, the creditor has sold his old debts to a debt collector, or a debt collection agency and they use scare tactics to try and make you pay even a small amount so that the Statute of Litmitations begins to run all over again.


If the collector is being abusive, using scare tactics and in some states if he's just trying to collect on a debt which is unenforcibe, you might even be able to sue them for violation your consumer financial rights and violating the fair debt collection Act.


If a creditor or a collection agency sues you AFTER the Statute of Limitations has run, then your defense would be the Statute of Limitations has run!


Q. Is it the hospital itself that is calling to collect, or is it a collection agency (which bought an old debt)?


Q. Who is listed as the Plaintiff on your summons?


Q. Does the summons state that you must file an answer before you go to court?

I think you might be home free, but please give me the above information.


I will await your reply




Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Sorry about the delay on answer. It has been sent to collection agency. The Plantiff is Craig, Bailes, and Yon attorneys. Yes the summons says I must file an answer before we go to court.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The attorneys listed above is listed as plantiff and then there is ladys name Melissa _______ that is listed as the one respresting the hosptial. The hosptials name itself is also on the letter. It says the attorneys names along with the lady that is representing then says on behalf of Cabell Huntington Hosptial. I am not sure about the contract thing if we had signed something like that would we have done it and not known exactly what we were signing? This debt has been so long ago cant remember for sure what an all has happend. For about 2 years we hadnt recieved anything from collection agency or anything that I can remember. Matter of fact we had forgotten about the debt. Until suddenly recieved the letter for summons.
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for your reply,


The information you gave me is little confusing, but it's understandable these things are confusing for people to read and I am trying to picture it in my mind.


You said the Plaintiffs listed on the Summons are the hospital, a law firm and Melissa somebody , representing the hospital. Apparently , though, it was not sold to a collection agency; they probably just engaged their services to try and collect. I am puzzled as to why the attorneys are named as Plaintiffs. Are you sure that under the name of the law firm it doesn't say something like:

"Craig, Bailes and Yon

Attorneys for

XYZ or _____, Plaintiff


Here is what you need to ascertain, because I cannot see what you have in your hand,

1. Determine who the real Plaintiffs are;

2. Determine who the attorneys for the hospital are;

3. You have to ascertain who everybody is

4. When you prepare your Answer, the Original goes to Court (find out how many copies the Court wants besides the original);

5. Time-stamped copies must be served on all Plaintiffs ; when in doubt, serve a copy of your Answer to the Summons on everyone whose name appears on the Summons;


The reason I want this information is so I can tell you to whom to send your Answer to the Summons.;


Only your husband should appear as Defendant since the medical services were given to hi, BUT, Remember* If both you ands your husband are named Defendants, you both have to file an Answer.

6. Let's assume that only husband is a named Defendant, his Answer denies each of Plaintiff's allegations, Then include a separate count called "Affirmative Defense" and in that count you woulds allege that collection of the debt and any action brought therefor is barred by the Statute of Limitations (there's no "e" in this therfor)

7. Include a Count for a Counter Claim and sue them

8. If wife is a named Defendant, her Answer will be exactly like husband's, but would include a request that the Court remove you as a Defendant.


Did you receive my answer earlier in the day when I posted the Statutes of LImitations for various debts? I thought you might be a little more excited that you might be home free.

Because of the strong possibility that the Statute of Limitations has expired and collection of the debt is time barred, I would hate to see you lose because of something minor which you failed to include or do; I would strongly suggest you find a competent local attorney to assist you because this part is very technical. Do you have a Legal Aid or Legal Assistance program in your area?


Kindly press the "ACCEPT" button so that I may receive credit for assisting you.


Thank you and Good Luck!


ANDREA - Attorney at Law & Legal Expert

Andrea, Esq. and 9 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you