Visitor Question

Boating Accident Personal Injury…

Submitted By: Jason (WI)

I had 2 fingers torn off on my father-in-law’s boat because of his negligence. 1 finger was reattached and only bends in one knuckle, the other was not attachable at the second knuckle.

I have random pain during winter, and will have this for the rest of my life. It was my dominant hand. There is scarring and disfigurement as well. I was in the hospital for 6 days, and have been going in for follow ups for the last 6 months, as well as physical therapy.

I was able to return to work after a month but I have pain in my hand after typing for a while and it’s embarrassing when clients see my hand.

Medical bills have totaled $75,000 so far. My father-in-law admits full fault of the accident, and I know his insurance policy has a liability limit of $300,000. His insurance company has already said they will pay all medical bills, and we are meeting them

to discuss settlement options. What should I ask for? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Jason,

Part of the problem in suing a relative’s policy is that they are just that: a relative. Before you go forward, please consider the long term implications of doing this because it may create bad blood between you and your spouse’s father which would be significant.

As far as the value of your settlement, even with bills at $75,000, I would say that you should ask for the policy limits. The reason is that you usually begin by asking for 4-5 times your medical bills plus out of pocket expenses. However, when you have a permanent scar, disfigurement or disability, you will typically ask for more.

Here you have a situation where you can ask for more because of the scarring, but with medical bills of $75,000, you will end up exceeding the policy limits if you ask for more than 4 times the bills.

There is the option of suing your father-in-law personally, however I would not advise it for the reasons stated above, particularly if the policy limits compensate you fairly for your injuries.

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

Best of luck,

Published: January 25, 2011

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