Statute of Limitations on Medical Debt in Florida
Medical debt is an unfortunate reality for many Floridians. Despite having health insurance, sometimes the bills associated with medical procedures, treatment, and care can add up quickly and become overwhelming. Medical debt can also occur when individuals do not have insurance or have insufficient coverage. One of the things to understand about medical debt in Florida is that it is subject to a statute of limitations. In this article, we will discuss what the statute of limitations is, how it works for medical debt in Florida, and FAQs associated with it.
What is Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit for taking legal action. This prevents people from being sued or prosecuted indefinitely for past actions. The statute of limitations is set to protect both parties involved in a legal dispute. The defendant is protected from potential litigation over minor infractions that happened a long time ago, while the plaintiff is protected from the stress of having a lawsuit in limbo for an indeterminate period.
Statute of Limitations on Medical Debt in Florida
The statute of limitations in Florida for medical debt is five years. This means that a medical provider or a debt collector cannot seek legal action against a patient after five years have passed from the date of the last payment or oral or written acknowledgment of the debt (Florida Statutes Annotated section 95.11(2)(b)).
If a creditor attempts to take legal action after the statute of limitations has expired, the patient can use the statute of limitations as a defense to the lawsuit. However, if the patient pays any amount towards the debt, the statute of limitations clock resets, and the creditor has another five years to take legal action (Florida Statutes Annotated section 95.051(1)).
It is vital to note that the statute of limitations only applies to legal action taken against the individual. It does not mean that the debt goes away, and the individual is no longer responsible for the debt. The individual still owes the debt even if the statute of limitations has expired. What it means is that the creditor can no longer use the legal system to pursue the debt.
Q: Is the statute of limitations different for medical debts in Florida?
A: No, the statute of limitations set for medical debt is the same as other debts in Florida. The statute of limitations for credit card debt, personal loans, and medical debt is five years.
Q: What happens if I admit that I owe the debt?
A: If you acknowledge that you owe the debt, the statute of limitations clock resets. The creditor then has another five years to take legal action to collect the debt.
Q: Does the statute of limitations apply to all medical debt-related cases?
A: The statute of limitations only applies to debt collection legal action. It does not apply to cases such as medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits.
Q: Can I ignore the debt once the statute of limitations has expired?
A: No, ignoring the debt once the statute of limitations has expired is not a wise decision. The debt collection agency may continue to call and send letters trying to collect the debt. They may threaten a lawsuit or report the debt as delinquent to credit report agencies, which can negatively affect the credit score.
Q: What if the medical bill is more than five years old, and I am still making payments?
A: If you are still making payments on a medical bill that is more than five years old, the statute of limitations clock is reset concerning that debt until you have made the final payment.
The statute of limitations on medical debt in Florida is an essential law that protects consumers from potential legal action taken by debt collectors or medical providers for debts that are past their expiration date. It’s crucial to know and understand how the statute of limitations works for medical debt and how it can affect your credit score. Keep track of when you make the last payment or acknowledge the debt to ensure it doesn’t reset the statute of limitations clock. Additionally, make payment plans to clear the debt with medical providers as soon as possible, to avoid the risk of a lawsuit or negatively impacting your credit score.
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Florida has placed a statute of limitations on medical debt. A statute of limitations is a law that governs how long legal action against someone can be taken. The law is set to protect both parties involved in a legal dispute. Under Florida law, the statute of limitations on medical debt is five years. This means that if a medical provider or a debt collector tries to seek legal action against a patient after five years has passed, they cannot do so. Nevertheless, the person is still accountable for the debt. The five-year statute of limitations applies to all medical debt-related cases except for medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits.