Couple Leaving State, Swamped with Medical Bills

By Al Pefley  email

Boynton Beach, FL (WFLX)

A Boynton Beach man is suing the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, after he says he was riding a motorcycle and a deputy ran into him with his patrol car.  He says he suffered a painful lower back injury and neck injury when he was thrown off the motorcycle. .

It has changed his life, and he says it has caused not only physical pain, but plenty of financial pain too.

Robert Lemons is busy packing boxes.  He and his wife are busy packing up everything they own and are leaving the state, moving in with her parents.

That's the only way he says they can survive. He's out of work and they have an 8 month old son.   "I'm trying to take care of the anger level that I have and trying to deal with the pain that I've had," Lemons said.

He showed us an x-ray that  shows a metal plate that was inserted in his neck during a four  hour operation in December.

He was badly hurt, when his 2005 Kawasaki motorcycle was rear-ended by a sheriff's deputy on NE 6th Avenue in Delray Beach in April 2008.

Lemons' attorney says the deputy was at fault, and Lemons tried for months with no luck to get the sheriff's office to pay for his neck surgery.

Finally, with the pain getting worse, he went ahead and had the operation anyway in December.  "I think they should pay the medical bills and the time he lost from work," said his wife, Nicola McCann.

Now he and his wife are out of work, out of money, and say they have no choice but to move in with her parents in New Jersey.  Lemons, a mental health and addiction counselor, missed so much work due to his injury he had to quit his job and says he still has pain everyday.

"I wanted to write Congress and our representatives and Obama and whoever it is to get them involved to make them aware that here's this situation and it's unfair,"  Nicola said.

Lemons has just sued the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office for his medical bills, which he says now total nearly $170-thousand dollars.

An attorney for the sheriff's office says they haven't settled the case and paid for Lemons' surgery, because they try to carefully assess these types of cases before paying anything, since it involves taxpayers money and they feel the public expects that kind of scrutiny when tax dollars are involved.

Lemons' attorney told us this case illustrates the importance of having uninsured motorist coverage.  Lemons, he says, did not have it at the time of the crash.   If he did, his medical and surgical expenses would've been paid.