i BELIEVE THAT WHAT THEY ARE OFFERING TO PAY IS THE LIMIT OF MEDICAL PAYMENT COVERAGE ON THE POLICY - $1,000.00. This coverage is payable regardless of any fault (negligence) by your niece. They are probably denying any liability because they don't feel there is any negligence for not having the light on - You should immediately stop talking to the insurance adjuster & consult a local personal injury attorney.
This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.
In most states there is a difference between the med pay portion of the policy and liability so I agree that you probably were offered the med pay which normally doesnt look at fault or liability issues before paying. If you want information on how this works in your state you will need to contact a personal injury atty there
You and your husband should stop talking to the insurance company and you should go to a local personal injury lawyer for advice. You might have a valid negligence claim against your niece and recover all of your medical expenses plus.
Typically local insurance agents want to help in terms of providing the best rate & coverage and making sure claim info gets to the company. But, decisions are made at the company with little or no input from the agent. If the 'medical payments' or 'med pay' provision coverage limit is $1,000, that's all that is available to pay the bills under that policy without proving liability. Wanting to avenge 'jerks' is not a good basis for a lawsuit. I try to screen out such cases. What you would need is proof of liability on the part of your niece. One of many questions would be how many times you have been at the property and whether you were familiar with the steps. Here's more about premises liability law: [Blue-Link-Below]
Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.
This is a pretty standard run-around in small margin slip and fall cases, which almost always need to be put into suit to get the insurance company to offer more than med pay limits. The insurance company is banking on your inability to find a personal injury lawyer willing to do so in a case which potentially has limited value. You need to find a personal injury lawyer who is willing to take a smaller case like this to court, and be mindful of cost/benefit issues.
This answer is provided for general information only. No legal advice can be given without a consult as to the specifics of the case.
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