Daughter injured on ATV...

by J
(Marshall, MN)

My daughter, 11 years old, who I have full legal and physical custody of, was riding on a 4 wheeler driven by her 14 year old friend, when she was injured in an accident. The 4 wheeler belonged to my ex-husband. Both girls were visiting his residence overnight (he does have visitation righs).

The girls were riding along a river on property farmed by my ex-husband and belonging to my ex-husband's mother.

The medical bills were submitted to my health insurance company and also my husband's wife's health insurance company. Thousands of dollars of charges were not covered. My daughter's friend has bills mostly covered by medical insurance and my ex-husband's liability coverage is covering the rest.

When I notified his liability agent, I was informed that there was no neglect and since my daughter sometimes lives at his home, his liability insurance won't cover the remaining bills.

What do I do? I'm legally responsible to the hospital and doctors for payment of the bills, since I have full legal and physical custody. Does homeowner's insurance really not cover this? Is there any other way I can get compensation to cover these bills? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Daughter injured on ATV...":

J (Marshall, MN)

Your ex-husband's homeowners insurance should cover your daughter's medical bills. Your homeowners insurance may provide coverage as well.

Unfortunately, you can only receive payment for the medical coverage you and your ex-husband have in place. Those medical bills which aren't covered are your responsibility and your husband's.

In most cases, medical providers are happy to accept payment plans for medical bills. They normally do so without charging any interest. You and your ex-husband would be well advised to contact the medical creditors to work out a payment plan.

Alternately, if you firmly believe the 14 year old was negligent, and that negligence was the direct and proximate cause of your daughter's injuries, you may be able to seek compensation from the girl's parents. In most cases, parents are responsible for the actions of their children which result in injuries to others.

In that case, the parents' homeowners insurance may cover some or all of the balance of your daughter's medical bills.

Your final remedy is to sue the girl's parents. If you are convinced the girl was negligent, and you are further convinced her parents have sufficient assets to cover your daughter's medical bills, then you can pursue a legal action against them.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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