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Wal-Mart steps on their foot again
Old 03-28-2008, 12:28 PM   #1
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Wal-Mart steps on their foot again

Video: Wal-Mart Sues Brain-Damaged Employee

Wal-Mart employee gets T-boned by a truck, is disabled, Wal-Mar's health insurance policy pays $400K. Employee sues the trucking company, Wal-Mart wants their $400K back.

All in accordance with the policy, but a PR disaster. Again. One would think they'd learn.
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:36 PM   #2
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It can't help that Alice Walton is building a multi-billion dollar museum for American Art, called the Crystal Briges or something.

It looks butt ugly and hugely over-pompouse. She has the money. She just paid $68 million for a painting.

You would think that this sad event with the Wal-Mart employee might have her encourage a kind and decent return of the money so that the brain-damaged woman and her husband could have some decent care. Did the article mention that this woman and her husband are also mourning the death of their son in Iraq?

Shame, shame, shame on Walmart. I really detest that place and never go there.
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:38 PM   #3
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This happens all the time in the insurance world. It's like subrogation, except that usually in subrogation it would be the insurance company, not the individual, suing the responsible party.

Person A causes an accident which hurts Person B. Person B's insurance pays off. Person B's insurance then goes after Person A (or their insurance company) to be made whole. The idea is to first take care of your insured, but eventually recoup your costs from the responsible party. And if the settlement was for "actual damages," that would most directly mean the recovery of medical costs, which would presumably be paid by Wal-Mart's insurance company (or the company itself if they self-fund their health plan).

That's similar to what's happening here, but the specifics are a bit different. I do agree that if it weren't Wal-Mart it would probably get more of a pass. Having said that, $400,000 is chump change to them compared to the hit their enemies are ready to slime them with if they try to recover what they had to pay out.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:42 PM   #4
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Um okay, that lawyer is going to be in huge trouble. You don't do a personal injury case and get a settlement without first dealing with health insurance company insuring your client. Walmart isn't the issue here (I am betting that 90% of the people here have the same subrogation line in their insurance).
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Old 03-28-2008, 04:15 PM   #5
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Disgusting! Walmart could do something to help.

If Walmart needs to collect for certain reasons... they could collect it and create some sort of charity fund for the woman.
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:37 PM   #6
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Disgusting! Walmart could do something to help.

If Walmart needs to collect for certain reasons... they could collect it and create some sort of charity fund for the woman.
Why just this woman? Why not all Walmart employees that get hurt? And what about if you have every been a customer of Walmart; why shouldn't they start a fund a charity for them?

Let's try to care for our fellow person and take care of each other.
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Old 03-28-2008, 09:57 PM   #7
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Um okay, that lawyer is going to be in huge trouble. You don't do a personal injury case and get a settlement without first dealing with health insurance company insuring your client. Walmart isn't the issue here (I am betting that 90% of the people here have the same subrogation line in their insurance).

Agree..... Wal-Mart is not the 'bad guy' in this picture... they coughed up the money at first, which it seems they might not have had to do (but probably did)....

And then the true guilty party was found to be guilty in court and ordered to pay 'full restitution'.... which they did... and since part of that was the money Wal-Mart paid upfront, they should get their money back...

NOW, the lawyer should not have listed any as 'medical' and Wally would not have to be paid back (IMO, but I could be wrong)....
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Old 03-29-2008, 03:23 AM   #8
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Why just this woman? Why not all Walmart employees that get hurt? And what about if you have every been a customer of Walmart; why shouldn't they start a fund a charity for them?

Let's try to care for our fellow person and take care of each other.

I get the basic logic and reasoning...

Their spokes person said it was (a paraphrase) and unfortunate and extraordinary event. Yet they proceed relentlessly and offer little but words. Sometimes good corporate citizens recognize when tragedy occurs and does something charitable. That is what I find disgusting.

It almost looks like the lawyer (for the family) settled the case on poor terms (he probably got his fee easier). If he knew those funds would need to be returned... he should have pushed for more or gone to court.

Of course... as you know we (the tax payers) are paying for it all through medicaid.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:25 AM   #9
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I get the basic logic and reasoning...

Their spokes person said it was (a paraphrase) and unfortunate and extraordinary event. Yet they proceed relentlessly and offer little but words. Sometimes good corporate citizens recognize when tragedy occurs and does something charitable. That is what I find disgusting.

It almost looks like the lawyer (for the family) settled the case on poor terms (he probably got his fee easier). If he knew those funds would need to be returned... he should have pushed for more or gone to court.

Of course... as you know we (the tax payers) are paying for it all through medicaid.
i think you are correct
thanks
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:38 AM   #10
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Her personal injury lawyer didn't know this was gonna happen & didn't inform her (or her family) when he/she arranged the settlement with the trucking company

If the lawyer knew this would likely happen (seems it's common knowledge, no?) , he/she should have informed the family & made allowances for it in the settlement agreement - I'd think the health insurance company lawyers would have been cooperating with him/her

Aren't those agreements generally pretty specific on how much is being awarded for what and the amounts calculated uponr:

1. medical bills to date (reimbursable to the insurance company)
2. future medical bills & care
3. loss of future income
4. pain & suffering, impact on family, etc
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:57 AM   #11
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I get the basic logic and reasoning...

Their spokes person said it was (a paraphrase) and unfortunate and extraordinary event. Yet they proceed relentlessly and offer little but words. Sometimes good corporate citizens recognize when tragedy occurs and does something charitable. That is what I find disgusting.
Had this end result played out the "normal" way -- and had it not been Wal-Mart -- I don't think you'd be seeing the outrage.

In a normal situation, Wal-Mart (and/or its insurer) would pay all the bills related to one of their insured being hurt by a third at-fault party. And then the entity that paid out the benefits to the injured would go after the at-fault party or their insurer, and the entity that paid out the benefit to their insured would be "made whole" for what they paid out.

If it played out that way, WMT's lawyers could have directly sued the trucking company to recover the actual damages they paid out to their insured. That's the way subrogation *normally* works. Only any damages above and beyond actual medical bills would likely go to the injured (in the form of pain and suffering claims, punitive damages, and lost income claims). Or else you'd see two separate suits -- one from the insurer who paid out and the other from the injured victim -- each going after different types of damages as appropriate.

So in the end, it turned out how it normally did. The one slimy thing WMT did is to NOT use its own lawyers or insurers to sue the trucking company, but instead not helping the injured in the lawsuit but ready to pounce on whatever settlement they received. Even though it's common for insurance contracts to specify they can get their payouts back from any money received from at-fault parties, the *way* they did this doesn't pass the smell test.
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:13 AM   #12
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Yep, the recovery of damages by Walmart is the way subrogation works. The fact that the insured rather than Wally World went after the trucking company to recover damages seems to be where this story takes a different turn. Makes me wonder if the insured's ambulance chasing lawyer jumped the gun in filing a lawsuit to earn a fat fee.

Whatever the reason, Walmart is certainly getting another black eye over the end result. This story is getting lots of play on multiple news outlets.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:32 AM   #13
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Looks like Wal-Mart gave in to public pressure:

Wal-Mart: Brain-damaged former employee can keep money - CNN.com
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:37 AM   #14
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Small article in today's 4/2/08 Wall St. Journal. Ditto..she can keep the moola now.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:42 AM   #15
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"Occasionally, others help us step back and look at a situation in a different way. This is one of those times," Wal-Mart Executive Vice President Pat Curran said in a letter. "We have all been moved by Ms. Shank's extraordinary situation."

Tap-dancing, but at least they did the right thing.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:44 AM   #16
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"We have all been moved by Ms. Shank's extraordinary situation."
Translation of PR-speak: "We took such a public beating over this in the press that we had to do something to stop the bleeding."
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:38 PM   #17
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Translation of PR-speak: "We took such a public beating over this in the press that we had to do something to stop the bleeding."
*Snort*. Here's the translation of the CEO-speak: "We've wasted so much C-suite & employee time arguing about a few hundred thousand bucks that my people might miss our profit targets, and that would adversely affect my bonus. Then you'd be talking real money!!"
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Old 04-04-2008, 05:44 AM   #18
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Had this end result played out the "normal" way -- and had it not been Wal-Mart -- I don't think you'd be seeing the outrage.

In a normal situation, Wal-Mart (and/or its insurer) would pay all the bills related to one of their insured being hurt by a third at-fault party. And then the entity that paid out the benefits to the injured would go after the at-fault party or their insurer, and the entity that paid out the benefit to their insured would be "made whole" for what they paid out.

If it played out that way, WMT's lawyers could have directly sued the trucking company to recover the actual damages they paid out to their insured. That's the way subrogation *normally* works. Only any damages above and beyond actual medical bills would likely go to the injured (in the form of pain and suffering claims, punitive damages, and lost income claims). Or else you'd see two separate suits -- one from the insurer who paid out and the other from the injured victim -- each going after different types of damages as appropriate.

So in the end, it turned out how it normally did. The one slimy thing WMT did is to NOT use its own lawyers or insurers to sue the trucking company, but instead not helping the injured in the lawsuit but ready to pounce on whatever settlement they received. Even though it's common for insurance contracts to specify they can get their payouts back from any money received from at-fault parties, the *way* they did this doesn't pass the smell test.

Thanks for the explaination. I watched CNN and even Fox hammer Walmart for this story several times. In the interest of "fairness" they did point that Walmart was doing nothing illegal. However, none of the high price legal analyst bother to explain what normally happens and what actually happened. It takes the unpaid folks on the board to do that.

Now clearly, Walmart PR response team was brain dead this week. But a simple explaination by the media of how the process works would have been helpful to avoid everybody in MegaCorp land worrying about what if I get hit by a bus.

Ziggy you probably don't need a J*B, but if you need a reference for CNN legal team let me know
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Old 04-04-2008, 05:54 PM   #19
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And the 'bad guy' in this actually is the guys LAWYER....

HE should have told them that 'if we win and only get X dollars then I get MY fee, but the rest will be taken by Wal-Mart.... but we all know how some lawyers operate...
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Old 04-04-2008, 07:09 PM   #20
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I agree that the lawyer dropped the ball here. It may be that the restitution received was the limit of the defendant's insurance and there was no more to be had. At a minimum, when Wall Mart initiated recovery from the employee, someone should have gotten on the PR band wagon. What are the odds that the plaintiff attorney collected MORE out of the settlement because of the appeal. This poor woman's family was shafted so many ways.
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