When Grandma’s dog bites your toddler
Maybe it happened like this: You took your toddler over to visit your mother. Her dog has always been good with children; but during a confusing moment, it gets anxious about the child petting her too hard. The dog then bites the child seriously enough that you need to take your child to the hospital for medical attention resulting in high medical bills. Though his or her injuries will heal, your toddler may remember what happened to them — even have nightmares about it — that can leave lingering emotional stress in addition to a physical scar.
Of course, you and your mother feel terrible. She has offered repeatedly to help you out of her pocket with medical bills and the other financial issues that have arisen. Is that the best thing to do, though?
The insurance company
Has your mother’s homeowners insurance company entered the picture? If not, it is time to bring the company in. Homeowners insurance (or renters insurance) is designed to save policyholders money in such instances. Your mother does not have to worry about the financial strain of withdrawing her own bank funds to help pay back medical bills. In all likelihood, her insurance company is on the hook for a large amount of the payments.
Of course, it may be that the insurance company is already in the picture but has made an unfair settlement offer or does not seem inclined to help at all. In such cases, it is generally best to consult with a lawyer rather than give in. Insurance is there for a reason, and you do not want to leave critical money just sitting on the table.
Suing your mother?
You may fear that a point comes when you will have to sue your mother to get her insurance company to pay. On paper, yes, this could happen. It is only on paper though, and much more common than you might realize. Your mother’s home, assets and the like are not at risk. You are not suing her personally to strip away her assets. Many family members are supportive in such cases and encourage lawsuits to get insurance companies to pay.
While knowing your options is important, it’s best to make decisions only after speaking with a legal representative. A lawyer skilled in personal injury law is best suited to give advice and can not only explain your options but which one is best for your situation.