Social Question

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Okay guys, I need your help on how to politely word a request for our school's insurance info. Ideas?

Asked by WillWorkForChocolate (23137points) October 15th, 2011

I’m asking because of my daughter’s accident. Despite my assertions that I’m a raving bitch, school authorities actually intimidate me a little (blame a few bad experiences from my own school days). I’m having difficulty with how to word a polite but firm email, requesting the insurance info, as a reply to the principal’s “apology” email.

I’ve emailed the teacher and principal already, with my displeasure at the way the situation was handled, and I received a lame apology from the principal via email.

I think that apology should have been more along the lines of “We screwed up, and here’s our insurance info to give to the hospital.”

My problem is this- after receiving that lame apology from the principal, how do I reply with something along the lines of, “Thanks for the apology but I’d like the school’s insurance information to file with the hospital.”

I don’t want it to sound like an afterthought- like “Oh yeah she’ll be fine and thanks for apologizing…....... by the way, my sister-in-law told me to ask for your insurance info.” It needs to come across as firm and unyielding, but not bitchy. I’m having a difficult time with how to word it.

With all the wordsmiths here on Fluther, I thought I’d ask for help.

Sorry this was so long.

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45 Answers

Judi's avatar

“Thank you so much for your prompt response. There is one thing I still need, and that is the schools insurance information to give to the hospital. She was seen in the ER and they require a prompt reply.
Sincerely;
@willworkforchocolate. ”

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I would start out with thanks for the apology for this unfortunate incident. Please forward me your insurance information for the hospital’s record. No threats or bluster, but just a straightforward request for the info. If they don’t respond have the family attorney follow up.

marinelife's avatar

Thank you for the apology.

What I really need, though, is the school’s insurance information to provide to the hospital. Please send it to me promptly.

Thank you,

jaytkay's avatar

I like Judi’s answer. Short, neutral and clearly tells them how to respond.

HungryGuy's avatar

I’d say something like:

Dear….,
Thank you for the apology. Although it was a little over-due, I appreciate it.
Nonetheless, considering that the accident occurred on your property, I need your
insurance information to file the claim for my daughter’s medical expenses.
I trust that I won’t need to pursue legal assistance in this matter.
Sincerely,
…..

bkcunningham's avatar

Dear Principal ______:
I wanted to follow-up on the incident involving my daugther, ______, and (the little boy) in Ms.____ class on Oct. 13. My daughter’s injuries resulted in an emergency room visit to (medical facility) on Friday, Oct. 12, where she was seen by Dr. _____. She is doing better and the doctor said __________.

I would appreciate your assistance in seeing that the ER recieves payment for the medical costs that have been incurred as a result of this incident on school property. Who should I contact within the _____ school system to assist with the proper application of paperwork to insure the medical bills regarding the ER visit are paid in a timely manner?

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and assistance in this unfortunate incident.

bkcunningham's avatar

I also love @Judi‘s answer but couldn’t resist trying my hand at a response.

rebbel's avatar

Yeah yeah, apology aschmology…., thanks so much….., now send me the insurance info, or I’ll sue your ass.

With already some very good, serious answers, I thought this one could be added to it.

gailcalled's avatar

Perhaps, due to the gravity of the situation, use snail mail and send everything certified (or do I mean registered) so you have irrefutable proof of the recipients having received the letter.

And I would add some ostentatious CC’s; to teacher, principal, chairman of the board of trustees, county board of education, and possibly your family attorney.

I would include date and time of trip to ER and all the specific details of the incident.

Don’t use any qualifiers or fillers, such as “a little” in “a little overdue,” or “There is one thing I still need.”

Both barrels blazing, I think.

HungryGuy's avatar

Certified is sufficient. Registered is only needed for something valuable and irreplaceable that if it’s lost (like rare coins) it can’t be replaced.

Also, I don’t like going in with “both barrels blazing” on the first go (though this situation sounds like the first go has gone and went). Years ago, I had someone do some work on my house. I got his bill and mailed the payment back to him. About 6 months later, I got a letter from a lawyer demanding payment. I called him on the phone and we got into a big fight. I contacted my bank to get a copy of the cancelled check, but the check was never cashed. I guess it really did get lost in the mail as they say. I sent payment to the lawyer, who I’m sure took a big chunk of of it for his fee. If the guy had only called me politely and asked gently about the payment, he would have been paid in full without having to pay a lawyer.

linguaphile's avatar

Knowing how schools function these days, @gailcalled‘s suggestion for snailmail/certified is a very good idea.

I would not acknowledge their apology, since it was just a corporato-apology and wasn’t genuine. I would also remove anything that diminishes your point, words like “a little,” or “just about,” etc—I like @bkcunningham‘s letter, for the most part but I wouldn’t use the “I would appreciate your assistance…” I would say “The ER requires payment and I need to know your school’s insurance policy contact information…”

Totally contrary to who I really am, I would keep it straightforward, businesslike and devoid of pleasantries. The reason: if it ever came that you had to take this to court, you don’t want any suggestion that you were unclear or vague in your message.

CWOTUS's avatar

Well, first of all you don’t thank someone for an apology, you either accept it or you don’t – unless it really rocks, I suppose. Assuming you’re going to accept it:

Dear Principal Skinner,

Your apology on behalf of the school and your staff is accepted, but that won’t pay the Emergency Room bill that I have to deal with. [I wouldn’t ask for insurance information, instead…]

I expect the school will cover my out-of-pocket expense for this matter. May I forward the hospital bills to you, or is there someone else who will be handling this?

Thank you,
@WillWorkForChocolate

gailcalled's avatar

@CWOTUS: Perfect except for the initial passive voice.

“I accept your apology on behalf….”

CWOTUS's avatar

Agreed.

zenvelo's avatar

I wouldn’t write the principal; I’d write the school district. Call the district and ask who handles insurance claims. Write the letter to them with a copy to the principal (and everyone else).

WestRiverrat's avatar

If you don’t get it from them, go to the next school board meeting and ask them why you can’t get the information.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Go to your schools Administration buildings and ask where to file and get processed a claim for the incident in your daughter’s school.

My ex husband and I both worked for a school district Admin. and waiting for principals to notify Admin. about anything they’re afraid is “bad” is going to get you more frustrated. Notify Admin. and they’ll have no choice but to look into and process the claim. You need to know that Admin. and the Superintendent of schools knows. Don’t assume the school principal will do the right thing, they’re more concerned about covering their a—es/job.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Thanks guys, lots of great suggestions here! Perhaps I should take the above advice and go straight to Admin, instead of asking our school principal. That would actually help me not be so intimidated, since I feel a little bit like a schmuck to demand their insurance after she apologized…

gailcalled's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate:

since I feel a little bit like a schmuck to demand their insurance after she apologized…

Don’t be intimidated; hold your ground; you do not have to be a nice girl here; you did tell us that the school’s reaction was too little and too late. “Lame” is not an acceptable mode of behavior when an injury to a child is involved.

Their feelings are not your concern; everyone should behave like professionals, including you in your role as parent.

rebbel's avatar

Also, if I may add to @gailcalled‘s contribution, look at it more businesslike maybe.
The school simply pays premium for their insurance, and insurances are there for when an accident has happened and the costs can’t be covered by the person who is victim.
One (the school) pays premium to be covered for those costs in the event of an accident.
Try to separate the emotions of the accident from the business part of it look at the apology as an apology for the fact the accident happened, not as an apology that covers the whole issue (the issue being the accident and the money part of it), that way it might be easier for you to not feel schmuck.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Please you’re being so nice. I wouldn’t send an email back. I would see the principal or whoever handles this in person, face to face (I’m much more effective face to face) and asap. They’d get the message from my eyes and body language.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Haha, “nice” is not usually a word associated with me when I’m pissed off. I’m not really feeling nice at the moment, I’m feeling like a chicken, a weenie, a wuss, whatever you want to call it. I hate face to face confrontations; they make me cringe! I suppose I’ll have to get over it in this case, though.

bkcunningham's avatar

You are protecting your daughter, number 1. The principal, the teacher, the superintendent, the janitor a the school; they ALL work for you, @WillWorkForChocolate. You pay their salaries and you entrust your daughter into their care five days a week, ususally 180 days a year. You are really asking them what insurance coverage, you as a taxpayer, pay for that covers and protects your daughter in the case of an accident at the school.

CWOTUS's avatar

To add to my previous response (since I hadn’t read the link earlier), what happened to your daughter was not an accident. The school board should at least pay for your daughter’s medical costs. They should think themselves fortunate that they don’t face a liability / negligence lawsuit for allowing a playground bully to hurt her – especially to the point of needing medical attention.

If I had been the principal, I probably would have accompanied your daughter to the hospital, met you there and apologized – profusely – for the ‘incident’, and made sure that you understood that there would be no cost to you. Even at risk to my job. A school board who wouldn’t back up such a promise wouldn’t be worth working for.

snowberry's avatar

Outfits like this rarely appologize in my experience. It invites a lawsuit. I say you were fortunate to get what you got. They’ll be happy to let this all die off if you let it.

Be polite, but don’t back down. Be persistent, and don’t lose your cool. If you do, then you will be perceived as threatening.

Kayak8's avatar

1) I agree with sending a postal mail letter to the superintendent or administrator.

2) I would not mention the apology but would keep the email (it is the concrete acknowledgement that the principal is aware of the unfortunate situation should her memory later become faulty).

3) I would keep documentation of everything (these things can often take a very long time to be resolved) and any photographs, emergency room treatment notes, along with the principal’s email may become very important later.

4) This takes care of the emergency room bill, but what about the kid who did this? Are there any consequences for his/her behavior? Do you feel like your child is safe at school?

5) If you did process the ER visit on your family insurance and your insurance company is anything like mine, they will try to see if anyone else will pay (usually a survey you get a few months from now). You will need the offending kid’s name and address as well as the school’s information and the teacher’s name. Your insurance (if they send a survey) will likely appreciate a copy of the principal’s email as well.

linguaphile's avatar

One other thing… if the school hasn’t done an incident or accident report; in other words, if they haven’t documented it, they are in deep-deep legal crap up to their eyeballs.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I just talked to a lady in the Admin office and she told me “the schools don’t carry insurance; I’ve never heard of anything like that.”

@linguaphile If they HAVE documented it, it was done AFTER the fact, since nothing was done that day.

Judi's avatar

Then you will have to take them to small claims. (But I think the lady doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Ask for her boss.)

WestRiverrat's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I think it is time to have your attorney write a letter to the school board. I know that in my state, the schools must have insurance if they want the state to pick up any costs for litigation.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Still waiting for the call…....... the lady in Admin said she was passing along my questions back to the school itself and that I should receive a call by 3. It is now 3:43. I don’t think this school wants to do shit about this. And I really do think the school should pay the bill, especially since their care of her after the incident was negligent.

I’m not saying I want to sue them for negligence or anything, I’m not a sue happy moron, but they should at least pay the hospital bill.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I think the school is hoping you go away if they ignore you. Maybe just call the Admin lady back and tell her you have heard nothing from the school. That you don’t want to make it a civil matter, but your next call will be to your attorney to see if (s)he has better results getting the information you need.

The local school did the same thing to my mother when she had issues with the school. It took a letter from the lawyer to get them to pay attention. She never did need to sue them, the threat was enough.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Talked to a lawyer friend of a friend. Public schools have “sovereign immunity” which means I can’t do a damn thing. FUCK!!!

WestRiverrat's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Then you will have to address the bully. File a small claims case against his parents. You could hire an attorney and fight the sovereign immunity, it does not always cover everything. But it gets expensive unless you have someone like the ACLU to help foot the bills.

If the school does nothing with the bully, can you get an order of protection for your daughter against the bully?

HungryGuy's avatar

Yes. It’s time to feed the lawyers now.

rebbel's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate In the Netherlands there are guarantee funds for when certain things/situations are not insurable << is that a word? or when the party who caused an accident, etc. has no insurance (but the victim needs to be covered).
Are there maybe such funds where you live?
You could try to find out.
Good luck with it!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@WestRiverrat The teacher who was on the playground when it happened claims it was an accident. My daughter swears he did it on purpose. I was not there so I have no proof, and the teacher’s word will trump my 5 year old daughter’s word. I can’t do a fucking thing, except have fabulous dreams in which I bitchslap the teacher and the principal.

@rebbel We have “assistance” programs here, but we don’t qualify.

bkcunningham's avatar

You are still awaiting official word from the school though, right, @WillWorkForChocalate?

If I’m not mistaken, sovereign immunity is waived in many cases and public schools may be sued under what is called loco parentis in tort law. What it basically means is the school stand in for parents in being responsibility for the safety of the child while they are in the school’s care.

Ask your attorney friend if they are familiar with that term, “loco parentis,” in your state. Geez, this situation really sucks. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone in central office knows something about their accident insurance.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@bkcunningham I don’t know what to expect from them; they’re ignoring me. That’s getting to be a pattern with them…

And the lawyer told me that while schools will sometimes waive the immunity, it doesn’t happen often and I shouldn’t hope for it in this case.

Judi's avatar

There’s always the local press as a last resort.

HungryGuy's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate – Okay, so you’ve spoken to your lawyer and you’ve been told that you can’t sue the school district to get their insurance information, you can’t use the Freedom of Information Act to get the name of the insurance company and sue the insurance company directly, your local Assemblyman refuses to help you, your local newspaper refuses to publish a Letter-To-The-Editor regarding this shameful treatment you’re receiving (including publishing the teacher’s name, the bully’s name, and the bully’s parents’ names), and you can’t sue the bully’s parents for your medical expenses, and you have no legal recourse whatsoever.

Well then, you might want to browse through the Loompanics Catalog and order a book called Getting Even. At least you’ll get some emotional satisfaction, if you dare…

WestRiverrat's avatar

One thing I forgot, take copies of the pictures, ER bills and all the correspondents with the school down to the local police and ask to see the incident report on your daughter’s battery. If there is not one, file one and then ask the school why the assault was not reported.

I prefer not to use these tactics, but if the school won’t cooperate, you have to do whatever you can to protect your child from further attacks.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@WestRiverrat I can’t do that because the teacher who was on the playground claims it was an accident and not intentional assault. I’m totally fucked here.

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