Aunt Who Sued Her Nephew Over Broken Wrist Claims Her Insurance Company Gave Her No Choice

Okay, so we may have been too hard on Auntie Jen, aka Jennifer Connell, the Connecticut woman who spent four years pursuing a lawsuit against her nephew after he enthusiastically hugged her and accidentally broke her wrist. We couldn’t comprehend how a grown woman could seriously be pursuing a six-figure settlement against a child for loving her just a little too much, not even backing down when his own mother passed away last year. Only a monster would do such a thing. Well, a monster IS to blame, according to Connell’s lawyer, and it’s not her — the monster is her insurance company, who put her in a situation where she had no choice but to sue her nephew in hopes of having her medical costs covered.

The enthusiastic hug that resulted in Connell’s injury occurred in 2011, but Connell didn’t file her lawsuit against her nephew Sean Tarala until 2013, when he was 10. According to Connell’s lawyer, her insurance company refused to pay more than $1 — yes, one single dollar — to cover the cost of her injuries, which included two surgeries, with a possible third surgery to come. At that point, she was forced to sue her nephew for the $127K sum, which, had she won, would have been paid out by his family’s homeowner’s insurance. And it does sound like she had no choice; Connell had filed a personal injury claim and under Connecticut law, she was the required to take the responsible party to court. The details that I can find are a little thin, so I did some reading on how personal injury suits usually play out under our monstrously evil insurance system. My hunch is that Connell told her insurance HOW she broke her wrist, and the insurance company, being MONSTROUSLY EVIL and all, did what they usually do — take as long as possible to eventually decide that they are not responsible for covering the costs of that injury. Instead of determining this to be a no fault case, they decided that there was another party responsible for Connell’s injury — Sean — and that the onus was on him (and his insurance) to pay. To add insult to, uh, injury, Connecticut law states that people who file injury claims on their insurance must take the responsible party to court. And thus, here we are.

“From the start, this was a case was about one thing: getting medical bills paid by homeowner’s insurance,” Connell’s lawyers in a statement. “Our client was very reluctant to pursue this case, but in the end she had no choice … Her hand was forced by the insurance company. We are disappointed in the outcome, but we understand the verdict.”

In the end, Connell got extra, extra fucked over, and we made a mistake by allowing the most basic facts of the case — Aunt sues nephew, whose mom is dead! — cloud our usual judgment, which should have been to wonder what role Connell’s own insurance played in all this. While we had no ill intent, we’re sorry to have been so harsh and hope that other media outlets will report on these new details. Because you know what’s worse than an aunt suing her nephew for hugging her too hard? A greedy, evil health insurance system that gives her no other choice.

[NY Post]