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How long does a creditor have to sue for medical debt in Florida?

If you incur a debt in Florida, the creditor has a certain amount of time to sue to collect that debt. Like all states, Florida has statutes of limitations to determine this time frame. Such limitations differ from state to state. For oral contracts in Florida, the statute of limitations is four years; for written contracts, the limit is five years. There are exceptions, however.

It has been widely reported that the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States is medical debt, which may or may not have been incurred in accordance with a written contract. If you have concerns about the statute of limitations associated with heavy medical debt, but you aren't sure of what kind of contract you have, then speaking with a bankruptcy attorney may help you understand your options for debt relief.

One thing to keep in mind is that debt collectors have been known to file lawsuits seeking payment even after the allowed time for collection. But in many cases, because the debtor doesn't show up to court, the collector wins the judgment by default. A person being sued for debt after the legal collection time has passed must still prove that the collector doesn't have a right to sue.

Another issue that occasionally comes up is that a person with medical debt makes a payment near the end of the time limit for collection. This can reset the clock on the statute of limitations. In any case, if debt collectors cause stress and worry in your life, it may be a good idea to meet with a bankruptcy attorney. The law provides for relief options to help you reduce your debt and look to a better financial future.

Source: The Republic, "DebtAdviser: Pay medical debts to avoid damaging credit," Steve Bucci, July 29, 2013

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