Need Help Footing The Bills

I was walking  my dog one evening and took a shortcut across a corner lot - there are no sidewalks in the area, and I thought it would be safer to do so rather than walk in the road.  There was a  small but deep hole in the ground which had been concealed by grass that hadn't been cut in a while. I stepped in it, fell, and couldn't get up. I didn't have my phone with me, so I had to crawl to the road where I tried to flag down a passing car; thankfully a woman stopped just before I passed out from shock. She called an ambulance, and positioned her car to protect me so I wouldn't get hit.  It turned out I had two shattered ankles which had to be totally reconstructed and a fractured leg. I left the house expecting to be home in 15 minutes, and didn't make it home for a month as I had to go to a nursing home for rehab. I was in a wheelchair for quite a while after that, followed by more months with a walker, and even more months of physical therapy.

I learned that the property was owned by the  Church of Christ across the street. I didn't want to sue a church, and I wanted everything resolved as quickly as possible, so I called them and asked them to put me in touch with their insurance company; they assured me they would...but never did. I sent them a certified letter, explaining in detail what happened - and they refused to sign for it.  Fine; if that's how they wanted to play it...

So, I started to call law firms. At each one I'd talk to an intake clerk, giving them the facts so they could present their notes to a lawyer. Each and every one called me back and said they couldn't help me; when I asked why not (after all, people sue for totally ridiculous reasons, and I had been seriously injured) I'd invariably hear, "I don't know." although one fool said, "You were trespassing."  (No - there were no signs, and the corner lot is used as an easement.)  I must have gone through every major firm in town, always with the same result, then someone who is a Facebook friend gave me the name of a lawyer who had helped him.  I called, and probably because it was a referral from a former client I actually got to speak directly with the attorney. I could almost picture the dollar signs in his eyes while I explained what happened, he sounded excited...then he asked me the name of the church. I told him, and he was horrified, responding in a shocked tone, "Oh, we can't sue THAT church!  The JUDGE is a member there!"  (I've since learned that many lawyers are members there as well.)  So, apparently having a judge and a bunch of lawyers among their membership precludes them from doing the right thing - when all they had to do was call their insurance company! 

Meanwhile, I have a pile of medical bills I can't pay, bill collectors are constantly calling to where I'm afraid to answer the phone, my house needs repairs because of damage to the woodwork, walls, and floors from the wheelchair and from the cats being left alone and scared. (A friend - who is allergic to cats - came in each day to quickly give them some food and scoop the downstairs litter boxes, but because  she has trouble with stairs, and I obviously couldn't go up there for a long time, the upstairs floor has been wrecked from cat urine, and my wallpaper has been shredded.) I'll never again be able to play golf, or tennis, or take long's a rare day I don't have pain in my ankles, and I've been diagnosed with deep depression as well as PTSD - it's impossible for me to drive past that "church" without having a panic attack, so I have to go the long way around.  My friend still has my dog because I'm not able to walk her; she's a breed given to wandering so I can't just let her out to "do her business" and come back in; I need to get my fence repaired so I can let her out.  My credit rating has been ruined; credit cards have been cancelled even though they were never paid as much as a day late - some places go by your credit rating and cancel your cards if it's not good.

I really have no choice but to do this, as much as I dislike doing so; I'm a widow with no family to help and the statute of limitations for hiring a lawyer has passed.  My Social Security covers my basic needs, but I have no savings and no way to cover all this.  

I need to get these people paid so they stop harassing me, and the damages to my home repaired - they're a constant reminder of what happened; I also need to get my furbaby home - I miss her!  I'll never get my old life back, but I'm trying to move forward as best as I can and put this nightmare behind me.

If you're the lady who stopped and helped me that day, please get in touch with me - I want to thank you for saving my life. I often pray for you.

Thank you and God bless.


  • Emlen Garrett 
    • $500 
    • 5 mos
  • Linda Read 
    • $100 
    • 5 mos


Arlene Michelle 
Chattanooga, TN
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