Ladina Whitfield, a human resource development employee, slipped at work, breaking her right knee and ankle. The company refused to pay for a knee replacement and delayed the surgery for more than three years.
"I lost my four-bedroom home and have been reduced to living in a two-bedroom apartment. I could barely pay my bills and was about to lose my car because I couldn't make the payments, Whitfield said. "Legal funding literally saved my life."
This kind of story is all too common in the lives of accident victims. But now, these victims have a lifeline in the way of legal funding.
Many of us are fortunate to not have to make the tough choice between going to the doctor and buying groceries. But many accident victims have to make this difficult decision every week.
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They have become victims twice: First, when they are injured by the careless actions of another; then by big insurance companies that can afford to drag out the legal proceedings while plaintiffs languish in a sea of rising bills.
The Tuesday op-ed by Doug Alexander, of the Partnership for Commonsense Justice, "Lawsuit financing bill merits closer scrutiny," unfairly demonizes the legal funding industry and misrepresents a very important consumer-protection bill that will help Kentucky accident victims level the playing field with deep-pocketed insurers.
It's time to set the record straight.
Legal funding is already legal in Kentucky. House Bill 412 puts much-needed consumer protections in place and, without this law, the practice will continue with no regulations at all.
Additionally, HB 412 requires funding companies to register with the Attorney General's Office, weeding out the bad actors who want to operate in the dark.
Important disclosures are mandated under the new law, and it requires each legal funding contract to be reviewed by the consumer's lawyer.
The attorney general can impose stiff penalties on those who do not comply.
Similar laws have been successful in Ohio, Maine and Nebraska and helped maintain orderly markets that protect consumers and ensure accident victims have access to funds during their time of need.
It's no surprise the big insurance companies have pulled out all the stops to scare the public about this bill. There is a lot of money for them to make while stringing along injured parties and trying to get them to settle for peanuts out of sheer desperation.
This bill protects those most vulnerable so they can go to the doctor and buy groceries.