The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of the former Wal-Mart employee who, now brain damaged, must pay nearly half a million dollars in medical expenses to Wal-Mart. The Supreme Court’s denial allows an 8th Circuit ruling to stand that required Debbie Shank to pay nearly $470K to Wal-Mart.
Shank was critically injured in a car accident eight years ago. Suffering a brain injury, she was left with virtually no memory and little ability to move or communicate. Since being released from the hospital, Shank has lived in a nursing home.
Shank’s medical bills were covered by a health insurance program at Wal-Mart where she had worked nights stocking shelves. Her family later settled a personal injury lawsuit with the trucking company whose driver was involved in the accident. After fees and expenses, $417,477 was put in a trust for Shank’s care. That settlement money plus $51,739 will have to pay out of pocket to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s insurance required full repayment of medical expenses if she received money from a personal injury lawsuit. Wal-Mart sued the family of the brain injured victim and stated that it sued “out of fairness to everyone who contributes” to the plan.
This tragic story is a prime example as to why the insurance and health care industries in the United States are in serious need of reform. Wal-Mart is an extremely wealthy business making its employees contribute for their own health care and now apparently sues to get money back from the most vulnerable victims.
For the full article.