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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » General Support » Hospital Files Suit Against Lymie for $ of Medical Bills!!!

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Author Topic: Hospital Files Suit Against Lymie for $ of Medical Bills!!!
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Poor guy!! Wow!!!!!

Altruistic attorneys offer legal aid

By: Haley Huie

Facing medical bills and a lawsuit, Bill Walker is quickly running out of options.

Walker said he is being sued because he can't pay his medical bills. And like many in the low-income bracket, he can't afford a lawyer.

The 47-year-old suffers from Lyme disease, Hepatitis C and a number of illnesses, but lost his health insurance after his illnesses forced him to stop working. Fauquier Hospital filed the lawsuit to recoup expenses from visits to the hospital's emergency room, according to Walker.

He said he will have medical insurance in eight months, but will be playing the waiting game until then.

"In the meantime, I'm getting sick, and I have no options," he said.

After looking into a public defender, he said he was unsure of where someone in his position can go for help.

For those in Walker's position, there are many resources available that can provide legal assistance for free or at reduced rates.

Linda Boykin, executive director for Potomac Legal Aid Society, said it is necessary to offer legal support and advice to those who are able to demonstrate a financial need. "It's very important, because a legal problem, especially to a poor person, is generally going to affect a basic need," Boykin said.

Without help, unrepresented residents might unnecessarily lose medication, housing or other resources, she said.

Potomac Legal Aid Society is a nonprofit law firm that serves residents of Fauquier and 19 other counties, offering counsel and help preparing legal forms for free. The organization assisted with 116 cases for Fauquier County residents in 2006, Boykin said.

If the cases require, they make referrals to nearby Rappahannock Legal Services, where an attorney can be assigned who will represent the client in court. Boykin said Rappahannock Legal Services handled 67 cases for Fauquier residents in 2006.

Potomac Legal Aid Society also works with people who are working and trying to pay off a debt, but have been threatened by creditors to garnish their Social Security or other money until the money is paid.

"We're not watchdogs, but we provide valuable legal assistance and service to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it," Boykin said, explaining that the firm may be able to offer counsel that helps people pay their debts and maintain their legal rights.

For those who don't qualify for legal aid, there are also attorneys who decide to take on cases when they see a need.

Julia Savage, a lawyer in Warrenton, said she typically has one or two pro bono cases open at any time. These cases are either free or handled at a reduced rate when there is a demonstrated need, she said. The most frequent pro bono cases she handles are in family law, ranging from custody and divorce to suing for support.

"I do pro bono cases [dealing with] support because that really helps the person bring some income into the home," Savage said. This helps the families manage their finances, and fulfills an obligation she said attorneys have to their communities.

Savage said she urges those who need it to get the best legal assistance they can afford, because it is often difficult for people to represent themselves in court.

"If you get some legal assistance and legal advice, that will really help you in the long run," she said.

Savage cited the law library at the Fauquier County Public Library as another valuable legal resource. There are also public defenders and court-appointed counsel for criminal offenses when people can't afford to hire private attorneys.

Savage said she has worked with Potomac Legal Aid Society and Rappahannock Legal Services in the past, and described them as providing an excellent way for those with lower incomes to get the legal assistance they need.

In addition to seeking help, Savage said it was important for people to educate themselves, and, if possible, to seek mediation or dispute resolution outside of court.

Listings for these services are in the phone book.

E-mail the reporter: [email protected]

There is no wealth but life.
-John Ruskin

All truth goes through 3 stages: first it is ridiculed: then it is violently opposed: finally it is accepted as self evident. - Schopenhauer

Posts: 5639 | From Aptos CA USA | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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sarah, thanks for posting this sad story about one of us..... [Frown] [cussing]
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Frequent Contributor (5K+ posts)
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Thanks, Sarah!
The article tells about lots of options for people who need legal help. Even if you don't live in Virginia, you can use the article to figure out what is available in your area.

Here is where it was published.

Times Community Papers - Virginia

Ann - OH


Posts: 5705 | From Ohio | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Does the guy have American citizenship? That's the real problem.
Posts: 2903 | From AZ | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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