Personal Injury Claim in an Indian Reservation Casino...
(San Jose, CA, USA)
My mom had an accident inside an Indian casino in Tuolomne, California. While playing in the slot machine, the chair where she was sitting tipped back and fell down. Because of that fall she was injured and had a hip surgery for a fractured bone.
She stayed in the hospital and in the rehabilitation facility for about 2 months and continued her recovery at home. As a result of the injury, she currently cannot walk without using a walker.
We are contacting several personal injury lawyers to file a personal injury claim for my mom but non of them is willing to handle it because according to them its very tough to deal with the Indian tribal community.
We filed our own claim and the insurance company of the casino received it 2 days after the deadline which is June 30, 2010. The accident happened on January 2, 2010 and the statute of limitation is only 180 days.
We have recently received a letter from the insurance company denying our claim because we did not comply with the statute of limitation. But they also informed us that we have 15 days from the date we received their letter, to file a request for arbitration with a $200 arbitration fee.
My mother does not want to go into this route and wants to write a letter to the insurance company to reconsider our claim and is willing to accept any reasonable offer of settlement amount.
Can she still get a settlement for a personal injury claim that was received by the insurance company 2 days past the deadline of the 180 day statute of limitation? Thanks for your help.
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ANSWER for "Personal Injury Claim in an Indian Reservation Casino...":
You have been correctly advised that dealing with tribal entities is more difficult than state courts because there are special, federal rules that apply strictly to tribal communities. If the statute of limitations is 6 months, this would have clearly been violated which in general, is a complete bar to recovery.
What strikes me as odd, however is the timing of the statute of limitations. While Indian tribes have their own courts and you must litigate matters there (not the Superior Court), 6 months is a very short time frame since most tribal courts have deadlines and civil rules typical to the state system.
If I were you, I would find out what tribal court has jurisdiction, file your claim there, serve the tribal representative and the insurance company and begin negotiations from there. I have a feeling that the statute of limitations for such a matter is at least one year.
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,
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