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Am I responsible for a medical bill for services of a minor child that I did not...

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brownidblonde | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 30, 2008 at 12:12 AM via web

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Am I responsible for a medical bill for services of a minor child that I did not consent to or have any knowledge of?

Minor child was 18 at the time. (Age of majority and consent in Alabama is 19). Minor child was taken to the ER by a friend (non life threatening). I found out about visit 2 years later after receiving a copy of my credit report. I was told by hospital that all bills were sent to an address that I hade not lived at in 4 years and were addressed to me in a name that I had not used in 4 years. (name change due to a divorce). Am I legally responsible for this bill?

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urzula | Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 13, 2008 at 9:18 AM (Answer #1)

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Parents (or guardians) are normally responsible for providing the basic needs for a child until s/he becomes the age of majority.  These necessaries include food and shelter, and typically would involve the child’s medical bills. Third, a parent would not be responsible for a child’s necessaries, if the minor was emancipated.  In most states this involves the minor going before a judge, and asking that their legal status to be changed to that of an adult.  Lastly, your lack of knowledge about the medical services would probably not have any bearing on personal liability.

Because each state has different laws, you should consider contacting an attorney for legal advice for your specific situation. The information that I provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as legal advice. Most bar associations have a referral service where attorneys will provide the first visit free or for a low cost. It your case you could contact the Alabama Bar Association (1-800-392-5660) or your county Bar for assistance. However, it sounds like there is a strong likelihood you are responsible for your child’s medical treatment. As an aside, is it possible someone signed your name to the hospital admission and consent forms?

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