By now, you've probably heard about Jennifer Connell, an aunt who had the distinction of being America's most-hated person on the Internet for a minute. For those of you who need a recap, The Week writes…
- Connell sued her now 12-year-old nephew over his overenthusiastic greeting at his eighth birthday party – he leapt into her arms and down they fell.
- The incident left Connell with a broken wrist and a $127,000 bone to pick.
At first, the case seemed like a prime example of how frivolous lawsuits have reached fever pitch – not even family members are safe from a plaintiff's exaggerated ire! But Insurance Journal reports that those assumptions were misguided – Connell's lawyers state she just wanted the family's homeowner's insurance to pay her medical bills for the two surgeries she had. When she first requested compensation, the insurance company offered her a measly dollar.
Turns out, in Connecticut, as in many other states, you have to sue the individual who caused the injury to make a claim for negligence, the report states. You can't sue the insurance company.
However, the report notes a Supreme Court jury found that Connell's nephew wasn't liable for the injuries. Her medical bills will continue to come out of her pocket, now with the added bonus of a social media backlash.
You might be wondering what this has to do with your business. Simply put, sometimes it takes a lawsuit to get a payout from someone else's insurance. That's worth keeping in mind if someone is ever injured on your business's property.
Injuries Are Lawsuits Waiting to Happen
If many states require injured parties to sue the individual responsible to recoup their losses, that means anyone who is injured on your business's property may be forced to sue you in order to receive their insurance payout. When you have General Liability Insurance, your policy can address lawsuits over:
- Third-party bodily injuries.
- Third-party property damage you caused.
However, there's another little trick General Liability coverage has up its sleeve. It can also pay for immediate medical expenses, which can reduce the chance of a lawsuit happening in the first place. Most insurers offer this coverage expressly to stave off lawsuits, which can be more time consuming and expensive than simply paying for medical costs from the start.
For example, let's say someone visits your store, and your Pomeranian shop dog gets underfoot. The customer trips and falls, catching themselves hard with their hands, and the impact breaks their wrist. (Fear not, the dog is unscathed.) At first the customer tries to say they are fine, but you insist on calling an ambulance.
Your next move should be a call to your insurance provider. Fill in the representative about the incident, and let them know you sent the customer to the hospital by way of an ambulance. Your coverage may help pay for the cost of:
- The ambulance ride.
- Immediate medical attention (X-rays, prescriptions, surgery, etc.).
- The hospital stay.
To learn more about immediate medical expense coverage, read "Need an Ambulance? Know When Your General Liability Insurance Will Pay" and "6 Hidden Gems in Your Commercial General Liability Policy." And for more information on how to file General Liability claims, read "How to Make a Claim on Your General Liability Insurance Policy."