By Tina Burns of Albertville, who used consumer legal funding after an accident
As published in The Birmingham News and on AL.com
Imagine having your life change forever in an instant by a distracted driver. Then to have the insurance company drag out your claim so you not are able to take care of your family. That is what happened to me.
If the insurance industry has its way, fellow Alabamians will be worse off than I was. I was able to get assistance through Consumer Legal Funding. But now a bill, HB 160, has reached the Alabama Senate that puts the profits of multi-billion dollar insurance companies ahead of the needs of the people of Alabama. The insurance companies are trying to take away Consumer Legal Funding, which helps people like me pay our bills and take care of our families when we’re injured.
Last December, my family’s Jeep was broadsided by a driver on a phone call. My son, daughter, husband and I were all badly hurt. Besides the pain of having my children injured, and of my own injuries, I faced tremendous financial struggles. I felt like my life was out of control.
Insurance companies take their sweet time processing a claim, even in clear-cut cases. The Jeep I had was totaled, so when I was well enough to go back to work, I had no way to get to my job. When I was finally able to get a replacement car, I was paying $120 a week on gas because our medical treatments were an hour away and required us traveling there three times a week. I eventually started going just once a week because it’s all I could afford. All of my expenses related to the accident are coming out of my pocket because we are still waiting on the insurance company to do what is right by us. When I fell behind on other bills, I got disconnection notices from the utilities. I did not know what to do.
I finally got some relief when I contacted a legal funding company and was able to get the money I needed to keep the power on and to put food on the table for my children. It was a huge relief to know there was someone out there who could help me.
If the Alabama Senate passes HB 160, the essential help Consumer Legal Funding provides will be taken away from ordinary people who need it. As soon as I heard about this bad bill, I reached out to the legal funding company that helped me and said I wanted to tell lawmakers my side of the story. That is how strongly I feel, and what led to me writing this.
I urge our Senators, and especially my Senator Clay Scofield, to do what’s right for people like me and my family. If legal funding was not there, who knows what would have happened to us.
Tina Burns lives in Albertville