Aurora man faced $375K in medical bills after SUV crashed into apartment, landed on top of him

Problem Solvers
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AURORA, Colo. — Jeffrey Thornton figured his bed was a safe place to be when he went to sleep on Nov. 10, 2018.

Instead, an SUV crashed into his apartment in the middle of the night.

“The SUV came crashing through the wall and landed on me. Pinned me for about an hour and half before paramedics could get me out from underneath it. And all that time, I was being burned,” said Thornton, 48.

Thornton spent the next 3 1/2 months at Swedish Medical Center recovering.

“I had to have my nose reattached… I had to have a skin graft done. It took like seven surgeries on my hip and my side and then they had to amputate my little toe on my right foot,” he said.

Witnesses tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers the SUV crashed into Thornton’s apartment after the driver got into a rolling gun battle with another driver after leaving a party at a nearby house.

A year later, Aurora police have made no arrests because witnesses have not been willing to cooperate. But Thornton said that during the last year, his medical bills reached $375,000.

“I’m considering filing a medical bankruptcy,” he said.

The Problem Solvers reached out to Swedish Medical Center on Thornton’s behalf.

Thornton said paperwork from the hospital seemed to indicate he owed $350,000 just to Swedish even though he has insurance. After a series of emails between investigative reporter Rob Low and a spokesperson from Swedish Medical Center, FOX31 was told, “Insurance has paid” and Thornton “doesn’t owe Swedish anything!”

Next, the Problem Solvers contacted UnitedHealthcare, Thornton’s insurance provider, to ask about  an additional $17,000 in bills Thornton was receiving even though his coverage plan indicates his annual out-of-pocket maximum is $4,250.

A spokeswoman for UnitedHealthcare emailed FOX31, saying, “We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused and have reprocessed all outstanding medical claims Mr. Thornton incurred immediately following the accident. We will continue to assist Mr. Thornton with coverage for his on-going health care needs.”

“I want my medical bills to go away because it was not my fault. I had nothing to do with it,” said Thornton.

Thornton was able to sue the driver of the SUV that crashed into his bedroom, but the driver only carried $100,000 dollars worth of coverage.

One-third of that amount went to Thonton’s legal fees and $14,000 went toward medical expenses claimed by UnitedHealthcare.

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