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If you’re an attorney or someone in the media here’s a story that might be of huge interest to you. The name is changed, although we probably don’t have to.

Let me tell you the story about an entertainer named….John.

Once upon a time — about a year and a half ago — John was on a sound equipment run in a Rocky Mountain state. A friend of his and his wife’s was along with him on the trip. Then, when he stopped his old 1950s-style car, he was suddenly hit from behind by a rented truck. His car rolled over, the passenger — a middle aged woman — was killed instantly and Davis was ejected from the car, his body shattered. He seemed doomed to be paralyzed or to die. Through sheer will, he didn’t.

But it’s more than an accident story. It turns out that a few days before the accident he had let his health insurance lapse since he was looking for a better plan. And it turned out that the person who hit him with the rental truck was an uninsured senior citizen. Davis had to cancel all of his summer schedule but after driving himself through painful therapy managed to walk and perform again. But it’s still not easy…

End of story? No. Not by a longshot.

Davis will need a $40,000 operation because his knee could get a lot worse over the next year to year and a half. He owes $250,000 in medical bills. He’s trying to collect from his car insurance company which is reportedly dragging his heels and he may have to take legal action. He’ll then get at most $100,000. Due to various loopholes in the law he’s finding he is unable to collect so far from the rental company. The person who hit him was uninsured and may have few assets. Meanwhile, creditors are demanding payment now. In other words: he was hit from behind but to date no one is being held legally responsible to pick up the tab.

And, in the end, if something doesn’t change, he could lose his house that he and his wife had worked so hard to make a place that welcomed all…including some stray cats of all ages who stand in a group and watch sadly when the couple gets in their car to go do a gig. Even worse: in a year or so, he may not be as mobile since he needs the operation and the status quo means in the future he might not be able to walk.

IF YOU’RE AN ATTORNEY and might want to give input on this case or even take it on email me care of this website and I’ll put you in touch with him. I know many attorneys — some were my best college friends — and think perhaps another set of legal eyes could help him out to collect…from someone.

IF YOU’RE IN THE NEWS MEDIA this is a quintessential “plight” story involving hard times, someone who was just minding his business when he was hit from behind and his world changed, and the fact that people forget that their insurance company is not always thei friend. Plus: the ways laws are set up so someone in a rental truck can hit someone from behind and apparently not have to take care of the person’s medical bills. Email me care of this website and I’ll put you in touch with him.

He emails me:”I am a victim here. This guy runs me down and now he, the laws and the insurance companies are running over me again financially! What a mess….”

FOOTNOTE: John didn’t asked me to write this. I’ve known him for more than 10 years and he has selflessly helped countless people and gone the extra mile.

Ironically, it was that extra mile he went that day that became the fateful mile….when he was whacked from behind and in an instant his health, his whole summer income from crucial jobs, his overall finances and the security of living in a home of his own choosing were turned upside down.

Can you help make a difference with advice…or by shining a light on the situation?

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • TheNeedle

    Liberals always want to insulate people from the consequences of their own bad choices (and of course to enrich trial lawyers). I’ve got no sympathy at all. It’s his own fault. He chose to let his insurance lapse and to be self employed. Maybe if he didn’t have all those cats he could afford health insurance. . You take certain risks, don’t come crying when the risks don’t pay off.

  • Jim_Satterfield

    A perfect example of compassionate conservatism at its best shows up, as per usual, in comments.

  • AustinRoth

    OK, I certainly feel for this guy, but

    A) why he did let his health insurance lapse while shopping around? That is his own negligence.

    B), how is the rental company at fault and liable, unless it was a mechanical failure that caused the accident?

    C) Obviously the other drive IS legally liable, but again there doesn’t seem to be anyone to ‘blame’ for his lack of assets. Also, did the other driver not have auto insurance? I will assume he passed on all the rental company add-on insurances.

    Now, as to his own insurance being pricks, hopefully he can prove they are knowingly failing to fulfill their legal obligations to him. If so, the path to punitive damages (not just the $100K coverage amount) may come open to him. However, the sad reality there is it will take years in the courts to resolve that, and he will lose a significant chunk of any award to his lawyers.

    • TheNeedle

      “he will lose a significant chunk of any award to his lawyers.”

      Absolutely. I’d rather see him not get a dime than see a greedy shyster lawyer make a penny.

  • casualobserver

    I’ll agree that Needle’s rhetoric is a bit over the top, but Moderate Joe’s attempt to paint this as the big, bad insurance company’s fault and the big, bad rental car companies fault is pure liberal bs as well.

    Did the insurance agent have a gun to the guy’s head when he signed off on the application limiting his UIM coverage to $100,000? Of course not, that was the buyer’s decision. I buy higher limits every year.

    Why does the claim settlement require legal action? Unless there are issues of contributory negligence, one phone call to the state insurance department claimant line would put a state investigator on the matter faster than a fly on sh*t. Methinks less than the full story is being told by our narrator.

    How is this the fault of the rental car company?? Unless you can prove they rented a defective vehicle, what kind of communism do you have in mind when you suggest they need to assume responsibility for the personal actions of the renter? All the law requires them to do is to see a valid driver’s license. What kind of privacy invasion are you advocating that next time you want to rent a roto-tiller the guy asks to see your personal finances?

    And if the guy does need representation, where are all those champions of liberal causes known as ambulance chas….I mean… the trial bar? What’s that……..they don’t see any contingency fee likelihood when the other guy is broke? Hard to make big campaign contributions when you can’t get a 33% share of some big settlement.

    I do have sympathy for the actual circumstances here, but not the contrived arguments that are being trumpeted here.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    I’m sort of amazed at the response of so-called conservatives to this story.

    Conservative #1 blames the guy who was injured by someone else’s negligence.

    Conservative #2 shrugs off the failure of a supposedly responsible corporation to pay what they owe.

    I don’t doubt the guy who let his health insurance lapse did so because it was too expensive.

    Right?

    Let me sum it up for you: guy with no health insurance because it’s too expensive gets hit by a guy with no car insurance because he drives the only type of vehicle you don’t need insurance for.

    No one benefits from this situation but insurance companies.

    • AustinRoth

      GS –

      OK, assuming I am conservative #2, where did I shrug off any corporate responsibility, other than to say the rental company has no obviously liability, unless the vehicle was defective, which nothing in the narrative suggests? I specifically pointed out that it sounded like his insurance company are being pricks, and it may open them up to expanded liability for failure to meet their obligations, if what is stated is the whole story.

      So, are you one of those leftists that believe if someone has suffered something bad, then any company that has potential money, even if they have no responsibility, should pay up? If so, why not hold the company you work for being held responsible? After the payout, I am sure you will be glad to lose your job to cover the costs so this guy can get ‘just compensation’.

      As for him not being able to afford health insurance, that was never said either. The article specifically said he let it lapse while he shopped for better insurance, not cheaper insurance. As a general rule, better insurance costs more, not less. So, you are simply trying to read the facts the way that best lets you indulge in your prejudices.

      As for your ridiculous statement that the other driver rented must have rented the truck because it is the only type of vehicle you don’t have to show proof of insurance shows what a biased moron you are. The cost of renting a vehicle with any regularity far exceeds the cost of motor vehicle insurance.

      You feel so bad for him, so why don’t you go hire him a lawyer on your dime?

      Or is it just easier for you to piss, whine and moan, like most liberals, than actually do something?

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Oh, and Conservative #3:

    Blah blah blah communism blah blah.

  • casualobserver

    Georgie, pay the guys medical bills if you are such a good guy…….and practice what you preach.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Conservative #3’s rejoinder:

    Blah blah blah hypocrite blah blah.

    Why even worry if it makes any sense?

  • JSpencer

    “I’ll agree that Needle’s rhetoric is a bit over the top” ~ CO

    A “bit” over the top? A “bit”? Gee d’ya think? Deranged is more like it.

  • ljm

    Patrick Edaburn writes a column about liberals being “harsher in their actions,” and here a couple conservatives write “I’ve got no sympathy at all” and accuse Joe of “liberal BS.”

    Classic.

  • JSpencer

    It’s a tragic story, and could have happened to anyone. My heart goes out to him. I hope someone reads this who is in a position to help…

  • archangel

    I live in said “rocky mountain’ state. Not sure this situ is a lib/conserv issue. Perhaps a hardship issue, before, during and after for all concerned. Here’s the law here.

    1. Elderly driver, or any other age driver, including rental car driver, was REQUIRED by law to carry a certain amount of car insurance for property, collision and physical damages and medical… each driver must be paid-up insured in COlo or else not drive.

    2. In CO the legal pathway, unfortunately for any age person, would be to go after the uninsured ‘at-fault’ motorist for the money, their home, their car, their assets, to garnish their ss, etc.

    3. The rental car company likely has no responsibility unless the driver of the rental car was at fault. And even then, the rental company would come after the rental driver if rental driver did not take out insurance with the rental co (or have explicit coverage from their own car insurance company for another car they own)– that is, enough to cover total cost of vehicle and med bills of any parties

    4. I do drive a rental car presently, and to cover that rental… you have to either have paid-up car insurance on a vehicle you already own and that thereby (Has to be stated in writing) covers rentals as well… or else buy rental insurance from the rental company that includes medical for not just yourself but for anyone injured should there be an accident.

    5. I do know of the person Joe speaks of here, and the accident was bad and also tragic, the bone damage great, the people involved good, and the primary issue in terms of damages is STILL the other driver not just driving recklessly, but driving without state mandated vehicle and accident insurance, somehow it seems.

    6. The last issue, of not having health insurance paid up, is sad. A lot of people who are self-employed, including myself self employed for 39 years… sometimes you rob Peter to pay Paul, or think/hope no danger is near so you can go without a high-cost item for a bit.

    7. In insurance, whether hazard, content, home, office, car, and other professional insurances for businesses…. if y ou can manage to have the bread, it’s better to pay those up first and on time. Just in case. In our times, without it, if you have anything of value, including your one precious body, you can be wiped out in an instant.

    8. In the case of the person Joe writes about, it’s a heck of a hard lesson… to learn to overlap insurances, rather than to drop an insurance. Many of us have been there one way or another in our lifetimes. I wish Joe’s friend the best of what is possible. As I said the accident had a tragic outcome in more ways than one.

    dr.e

    ps I’d add that in Colo there are three legal firms at least that would take on this man’s case and yes, they would take a percentage, but their names are feared by insurance companies and they would likely get the money the man needs for his operation and then some. It’s amazing how a good many knee draggers snap to when confronted by lawyers rather than individuals. It is not a sure thing, but offers a very good chance to recover enough money to cover what is needed

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Austin Roth–

    This is what you said in your first comment here:

    Now, as to his own insurance being pricks, hopefully he can prove they are knowingly failing to fulfill their legal obligations to him. If so, the path to punitive damages (not just the $100K coverage amount) may come open to him. However, the sad reality there is it will take years in the courts to resolve that, and he will lose a significant chunk of any award to his lawyers.

    Why should this guy, who paid for insurance to cover this situation, have to hire a lawyer, the sad reality being that it will take years and cost him a significant chunk of any award? Aren’t you shrugging off the insurance company’s responsibility in the name of that sad reality, which is that insurance companies have the financial recourses to screw their paying customers?

    I must say further that I am looking for the portion of my comment where I claimed (quoting you again here):

    the other driver rented must have rented the truck because it is the only type of vehicle you don’t have to show proof of insurance

    I said people who rent vehicles don’t have to pay adequate insurance. You assumed yourself that this was true of the other driver (quoting you once again with a little added emphasis):

    I will assume he passed on all the rental company add-on insurances.

    Because he passed, he’s off the hook–that’s what I’m saying. And that also seems to be the way you read this. I really don’t see why you’re saying I wrote the other driver regularly rented a vehicle just to skip paying car insurance.

    It’s true I made the assumption about why his health insurance lapsed. My assumption in that instance is as open as your own assumption, with which I agree, that the other driver skipped the expense of adequate insurance, an option not available, to my knowledge, of people who drive other types of vehicles.

    It’s common knowledge that health insurance is expensive for individuals. If you don’t like my assumption that that’s why Joe’s friend let his health insurance lapse, that’s okay.

    If you think I read the facts the way that best lets me indulge in my prejudices, welcome to the club.

    And if you think I’m a moron, I can live with that.

    • AustinRoth

      GS –

      Glad you are OK with my thinking of you as a moron, as you assuredly are one.

      Who else but a complete, and biased, moron could read “the sad reality there is it will take years in the courts to resolve that, and he will lose a significant chunk of any award to his lawyers” as anything other than sympathy to his plight, and a condemnation of our legal system. How anyone other than a biased idiot could possible read that to somehow “shrugging off the insurance company’s responsibility” again goes to your predetermined biases.

      As to passing on the add-on insurance by the other driver (the ONLY entity at fault, besides this man himself for allowing his health insurance to lapse), that was that person’s decision and fault, not the rental company.

      I noticed you have chosen to ignore the question is why don’t YOU do something for this man. That, obviously, is because you are also a hypocrite. But you are a Liberal, so it is redundant.

      The difference between a Conservative and Liberal in something like this is a Conservative can feel sorry for the man’s circumstances, while not needing to resolve him of his culpability, and to believe that while his insurance company is not meeting their obligations, not needing to find a non-responsible third party to shoulder the burden.

  • archangel

    Hi everyone:
    I’m not mom, but enough of the ‘moron/hypocrite’/et al, stuff… you, no you, no you. Enough.

    I am gently asking all to stick to the posting rules for commenters; just discuss/argue the issues, but refrain from attacking other commenters and/or writer.

    Thank you all.
    Dr. E
    Assistant Editor, TMV

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Wow!

  • JSpencer

    I agree with archangel, this is not a left or right issue (despite efforts of the ideologically obsessed). To my mind this is more about whether a person possesses an actual beating heart, or a mere sump pump.

  • crackinsurance

    On top of that, take a look at this latest piece of insurance news, where thousands of patients have to find a new hospital