Hit by shotgun pellets while hunting...

by A
(Milan, NH USA)

I was accidentally shot by my 24 year old son while bird hunting. We were using a flushing dog, when I moved into his line of fire without communicating my location to him. At the time of our last communication, about 2 minutes prior to the gun shot, I was behind him and to his left.

We both were wearing hunter orange hats as well as upland vests with orange on front and back. At time of discharge I was completely obscured from his line of sight by thick 10 foot high conifers and had moved ahead to the left of him.

I was struck by 7 pellets that penetrated skin from a 20 gauge shot shell. I went to the local Emergency Room for treatment. My Health Insurance has covered the bills of less than $5,000 but has hired a private firm to find out if a third party is responsible for the injuries.

The accident has been investigated by Fish & Game officers and no charges were brought against my son. He owns his own home and has homeowners insurance. Could my health insurance company try to seek repayment of medical bills from him or his homeowners insurance, and if so, do most homeowners insurance policies cover this? How are accident like this normally handled? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Hit by shotgun pellets while hunting...":

A (Milan, NH USA):

Most homeowners insurance policies cover property losses away from home. The policies normally cover destruction or theft of property such as lost or damaged computers, luggage, and other personal property. In many cases, where the homeowners policy contains a Medical Payments clause (or “Med Pay”), individuals, other than the homeowner and immediate family members, who are injured on and off the insured’s property may be covered.

You will need to check the liability portion of your son’s homeowners policy. If the policy contains a med pay clause, your medical expenses may be covered. If though, you live in the your son’s home or on the property insured, you will likely not be covered.

If your medical insurance pays all of your medical expenses, and your son did have med pay, there is a possibility your medical insurance company will “subrogate” against your son’s homeowners insurance company. If this occurs, you or your son will likely not be able to contest the insurance company decision to subrogate.

If your son doesn’t have homeowners insurance, there also exists a possibility your medical insurance company will subrogate against your son personally to cover the money paid for your medical expenses. The decision to do so will reside entirely with your insurance company.

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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