Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wal-Mart vs. CNN - Who's Worse?


For those of you that won't read the whole article, let me summarize:

1. Eight years ago a woman gets a job at Wal-Mart which includes health benefits.
2. Shortly thereafter she gets in a horrible car accident, racking up $470,000 in medical bills.
3. Wal-Mart's health insurer paid every dime.
4. Woman sues the trucking company and is awarded $1 million.
5. After legal fees, woman recieves $417,000 from the settlement.
6. Wal-Mart's health insurer wants their share of the lawsuit ($470,000).
7. Math doesn't work out ($417,000 - $470,000 < 0)

This is a little known but distinctly real phenomenon and law structure in the United States: If you get injuried and sue for medical bills, pain and suffering, and future lost wages, the company that paid all of your medical bills (you were suing to recover damages for that, right?) is entitled to recover what you sued for.

Now the observant reader will notice that there's a problem right in between steps 4 and 5. That problem is that $587,000 disappeared was pocketed by her attorneys!

What we have here is a case of corporate greed not by Wal-Mart, but by her attorneys who were supposed to be protecting her interests.

Sadness indeed. Not to mention that her husband has health problems and she lost her son within 2 weeks of serving our country in Iraq. A horrible story, and horribly skewed.

Now, Wal-Mart, whose health insurer is Blue Cross / Blue Shield, is getting another bad rap. I dislike Wal-Mart as much as the next guy, but this is just an unfair blow by CNN.