Victim compensation when medical costs exceed the policy limits?
I got a severe dog bite of the lower leg resulting in 3 surgeries and a total of 6 months of recovery (since February 2013). I am still recovering and I have long term/permanent scarring on my arms and leg with deep disfigurement on the leg.
This situation my have long term negative conditions in the future in terms of walking without a limp or some other condition with my ankle (present age is 63 yrs). There are still a number of things I can't do for myself or alone and this is what worries me regarding my future health and independence.
The attack was very horrific to say the least. The process of recovery has been almost as traumatic. Every area of my life has been affected and limited since the attack.
How can I get compensation as the victim when my medical and hospital costs exceed the policy limits of the at-fault party? How can I get fairly compensated for all I've been through and may continue to go through for the rest of my life? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Victim compensation when medical costs exceed the policy limits?":
Anonymous (Michigan, USA):
Make sure the dog owner only has one policy. Although you didn't mention which policy is paying your medical bills, etc., I'll presume the dog owner's homeowners insurance policy is the one. If you have an attorney she can find out that information for you.
Unfortunately, other than insurance proceeds your only remaining recourse may be to file a lawsuit against the dog owner(s) personally for the difference between their policy limits and your perceived damages. Once again, if you have an attorney she will be able to discover any remaining assets subject to levy.
In addition, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the dog owner(s) even if they don't presently have any recoverable assets. If they ignore your lawsuit or you win it at trial you will be able to take a judgment against them.
In most cases judgments are valid for ten years. During that time interest will accrue at the prevailing rate. Before the ten year period expires you may be able to renew it for another ten. You may be surprised. Sometime down the line the dog owners may attempt to buy a home or other property, whether personal or real.
If they require a loan to do so your judgment will appear. As a result, they may not be able to secure the loan until they pay off your judgment.
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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