It was her 8-year-old nephew’s birthday party, and he was thrilled to see her. The boy raced up excitedly to his aunt and tackled her, causing her to catch him as he jumped into her arms and she fell over. The result was a fracture of her left wrist.
Now, four years later, she has been dubbed by some media outlets and commenters as the “worse aunt” after a jury rejected the claims made in her personal injury lawsuit against her nephew, now 12, whom she alleged was negligent in his exuberant greeting.
But there is reason to stop and reconsider. This case was almost certainly not about a beloved aunt trying to collect money from a minor or his father (the boy’s mother, plaintiff’s cousin, died last year). It was an attempt to collect compensation for medical bills from a homeowner’s insurance policy. In Connecticut, as in most states, insurance companies can’t be named as defendants in an initial cause of action. The reason is because courts have found it may prejudice jurors who may more readily find against a defendant who is known to have insurance and therefore the ability to pay. Continue reading →