Visitor Question

Multiple finger surgeries from infection after removing window…

Submitted By: Ben (Crete, IL)

I received a phone call from my uncle stating the front window of his house was broken and asking if I could help remove it. I said sure no problem, be right over. Removing the broken glass I cut my finger in the joint. It didn’t look all that bad, so I wiped up and wrapped a paper towel around it.

I got home an hour later, cleaned it up and bandaged it. Two days later my finger was swollen and infected. I went to the doctor who gave me an antibiotic and a shot. I’ve had to go back a few more times after that. He lanced it and sent me to a finger specialist. The finger specialist was talking about amputating my finger!

He needed to do surgery to try to save the finger due to the infection, and he would have to send me to infectious disease control to get IV antibiotics. Well a month on home IV antibiotics and three surgeries later I lost the knuckle in the finger.

I talked to my uncle’s homeowners insurance and they said there was only $5000 injury coverage on his policy for my out of pocket expenses, copays, etc. My personal insurance covered most of the bills and there is $5000 they didn’t cover.

I don’t want to sue anyone, just get my bills paid. Can my personal insurance go after me or my uncle for me excepting this $5000? How should I handle this? Thank you for any information you can give to help sort this out.

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 Ben,

Your personal medical insurance has a right to subrogate against your uncle. To subrogate means your personal insurance company can pursue a monetary claim against your uncle to recover the amount of money they paid to you for your injury claim.

Your personal insurance company can not pursue a monetary claim against you unless you have been paid twice for the same injury.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say your medical bills amounted to $10,000 and your own insurance company paid you that full amount. Then your uncle’s homeowners insurance company paid you an additional $5,000 to cover the same medical bills. When that occurs your insurance company would have a right to be indemnified.

This means you would be required to reimburse your insurance company for the $5,000 they initially paid as part of the $10,000. This is to prevent “double-dipping” or being paid twice for the same bills.

However, if you are able to convince your insurance company the amount of money paid by your uncle’s homeowners insurance was strictly and exclusively for your pain and suffering, and not for your medical bills, then you might have legitimate grounds to keep the entire amount of $10,000 without having to reimburse your insurance company.

Learn more here: Coverage Specifics for Homeowners

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!


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