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Tennessee Man Breaks Neck in Mexico

Greg Smalley was body-surfing with his son on the beach in Cancun, Mexico on a family vacation, when a wave smashed him into the sand causing him to break his neck. He instantly lost his ability to move, and had to be pushed to shore by his small son. While this is an unfortunate series of events, what happened was even more terrifying. The family, while in Mexico, faced language barriers, red tape, and international issues when it came to being covered by his insurance company. He eventually had emergency surgery in Mexico to fuse his cervical spine at C4, C5, and C6. He was thereafter flown to Nashville’s Vanderbilt Medical Center by medical evacuation, and has been in the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia for rehabilitation since.

Health Insurance and International Travel

Most standard health insurance companies give their members some coverage abroad, and each person’s coverage differs depending on the plan. In most cases, the standard policy will provide for coverage for emergencies. Things like chest pain/heart attack, which result in emergency room visits, qualify as emergencies, while other cases such as the flu, which does not put one’s life in danger, are not covered. It is important to note that countries that have ‘free,’ standardized healthcare (ie. Canada) do not extend those services to non-citizens. You will likely have to pay up front, and then try to file a claim with the insurance company once you’re back home. Lastly, U.S. program healthcare such as Medicaid and Medicare only applies to the 50 states and the U.S. territories.

Insurance Disputes

When a policyholder submits a claim to their insurance company, they expect the company will act in good faith and honor the validity of the claim. Unfortunately, oftentimes this is not the case, and insurance companies often deny seemingly valid claims or coverage of healthcare. Additionally, insurance companies have a duty to act fairly with their customers. An insurance bad faith claim may exist when an insurance company fails to honor its agreement/contract with you, and under Tennessee law, a policyholder may recover a bad faith penalty or punitive damages against the bad-acting insurance company.

Nashville Civil Litigation and Personal Injury Lawyers

At Calhoun Law, PLC, we are well suited to practice in insurance disputes, personal injury, appeals, business litigation, and civil litigation. Sometimes, when you have suffered a personal injury and are seeking compensation, you may find that civil litigation against an insurance company is the most effective way to resolve your claim. As lawyers who have worked on behalf of insurance firms, we know how companies work to limit claims, devalue policies, and seek to minimize the amount of coverage you are due. As a result, we also know how best to fight for you to maximize the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today so that we can ensure that you and your loved ones are properly compensated for your injuries.

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