My co~worker, Renee found out today that her paycheck is being garnished for the fire in the duplex. For a total of $97,000.
While I agree that she was stupid to not have renter's insurance and that even an accident can have fault, my problem with the entire issue is this ~
When the fire first started and the fire dept was called, they put it out quickly. The damage was limited to *one* bedroom. One wall and the ceiling. Renee was advised to take her family to a hotel for the night, since the place smelled of smoke and to return the following day.
So everyone left. And the fire rekindled. This time, with no one there to call immediately, it burnt out of control and did the damage that left the duplex completely ruined.
The owner *had* insurance, of course and the two unit building was restored and is now being rented again. And Renee is left holding the bag. Or rather, left holding *nothing*. Less than nothing. This is a working single mother of six children. She's never not had a job, usually more than one. She doesn't get food stamps or assistance beyond medical cards for her boys, she'd rather try to pay her own way.
At this point, we're debating whether it would be better for her to simply quit and go on welfare. She'd probably be better off, right? But she doesn't want that! She wants to work. She wants to be able to pay her rent and utilities and be productive and jezus! Seriously! She makes just over $10 an hour. How long is it going to take her to pay this off?
I've downloaded a complaint form for the local (KC) ACLU. Can they help? Do they do this kind of thing? Should she contact a pro~bono lawyer? Does she have a leg to stand on? And why do insurance companies suck so hard?
What do you think?