Thank you for responding. Here is more detailed information about my situation and the outcomes I would like to see happen.
I was in San Antonio, TX speaking as a motivation speaker and started having chest pains. I went to the Mission Trails Hospital and was medically cleared. On May 12th, 2015, I boarded a VIA Metropolitan Transit bus with some friends after leaving the hospital. The hospital had put my arm in a sling from a cath I had received. As I was walking to the back of the bus and before I reached my seat, the bus driver stomped on the gas pedal and the bus lurched forward causing me to loose my balance and tumble down the aisle. I hit my leg, my back and my neck on rails and the rear door. The bus driver saw me fall and yelled back "Is she okay?" in a voice that indicated to me that she did not care. I was in a great deal of pain. My friends tried to cheer me up and get me laughing. I got off the bus at the next stop and returned to the hospital.
As a result, I have permanent nerve damage that causes pain similar to the electrical shocks of a TENS machine in both legs (the left more than the right), bulging disks in my back which creates a burning sensation in my legs when movement releases some of the fluid from a disk and it gets into the spinal cord, and neck damage that requires a pin to prevent my neck from moving too far backwards. One doctor stated that my left leg would eventually have to be amputated. My current leg doctor says that I will eventually be unable to walk on my own and will have to use a wheel chair for the rest of my life. I am currently getting injections every two weeks to reduce the pain. After an injection, my leg or legs are usually numb for up to a day and I have to use a wheel chair until the numbness wears off. The injects do help but the symptoms usually return much sooner than the two weeks before the next injection. Less than a week after my last injection, I could not walk or put pressure on my left leg without excruciating pain and was in the wheel chair for several days. Pain medicines have limited results controlling the pain.
I have been unable to work since the accident. I receive SSI and SSD (and EBT). I would very much like to change this, but I am not sure how that can happen in my current and future predicted condition.
I contacted a lawyer in Texas about the bus accident. The lawyer told me he had a settlement offer of $1M but said that we could get much more. The next thing he tells me is that Via said that they wanted to go to trial and since he was not a trial lawyer, he backed out of the case. In addition, Via has video from the bus prior to me getting on the buse and video after the tumble while my frieds were trying to get me to laugh it off but somehow the few minutes of me getting on the bus and falling were "corrupted and lost". I reached out to several other lawyers and they turned me down with a couple saying that no lawyer would take the case. In direct talks with Via, they offered me $25,000. As the two-year statute of limitations approaches, I again contacted lawyers in Texas. One lawyer was kind enough to explain that the primary reason that no lawyer would take the case is because Via is protected by a Texas law that places a $200,000 cap for any lawsuit. This is an all inclusive cap. My current medical expenses appear to exceed this cap and I am still looking at medical expenses from this accident for the rest of my life. Of course, this does not account for lost income or the impact on my overall life. So, it turns out that I probably have no financial interest in pursuing Via for compensation. Which leads me to...
Medicare has paid for the vast majority of my medical bills. I have contacted them to get an accounting of my medical expenses from the time of the accident. They have been quick to point out that they are first in line for any settlement that I receive. They have been unhelpful in providing the bills so that I can present them to Via. In my last phone call where I had to wait for the next available representative over and over again because they kept sending to a different department. When I finally seemed to find someone that could help, she said that the request would take 65 days to process. AND, she again reminded me that I would not be allowed to keep the money from a settlement in such a way that I felt like she was accusing me of trying to steal the money! The 65 days for Medicare will likely take me past the two-year statute of limitations.
1) It would be nice to get my medical expenses that Medicare paid related to this accident so that I can provide them to Via prior to the statute of limitations running out. Your help in making that happen is appreciated.
2) Since I am spending my time and money to gather up all my medical records and expenses - paying for copies and paying for making CDs to send to Via - plus the cost of mailing all this to Via - with no hope of reimbursement (since it will all go to Medicare), it seems to me that Medicare should be actively helping people in my situation where they stand to recover a significant amount of money. One of the people that I talked to at Medicare estimated that they paid around $500,000 so far but that number probably included two non-related operations that I have had since the accident. This help could also include a Medicare lawyer working the case to make sure that Medicare gets their appropriate reimbursement for current and future medical bills. While this is too late for me, I would like Bill Posey to look into this idea for others that are having their medical care paid for by the government.
3) I would also like Bill Posey to look into limits and caps for personal injury cases where the actual medical expenses exceed the caps. I understand that people are fed up with seeing multimillion dollar settlements with much of it being for "Pain and suffering" and I can see a cap on the intangible costs but the actual medical costs should not be limited. It also seems a bit unfair for the government to put such limits in place for themselves and not across the board for all cases. The cap for Via is in place because they are a city bus. Via seems to have an exceptionally high number of bus accidents, so, this cap does not seem to be reducing accidents just reducing their financial responsibility for those accidents.
These are my main outcomes and I look forward to your assistance.
On another note, I was a little disappointed to hear that only one of my representatives can take up a voters cause. I contacted both my Congressman and my Senator in order to cover both houses. I do understand that there is a limit to time and resources. If this was a general policy, I could support that. I would also ask that you apply this same policy to lobbyists and businesses. They don't vote -- why should they get better representation than your voters?