Monday, October 20, 2014
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White Pigeon family fighting insurance company for refusing coverage

Connor Watson is recovering fast from injuries suffered in a crash, but his insurance company is refusing to provide coverage.

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 7:52 p.m.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story published Thursday, May 15, incorrectly stated that Connor Watson had health insurance that included “hazardous activity” such as kart racing. Connor actually has less extensive coverage. Following the accident, his family made a claim to the insurance company, and the company denied covering his medical expenses based on Connor engaging in a “hazardous activity.” 

WHITE PIGEON, Mich. — Following a kart crash at the Mottville Speedway, Connor Watson is healing from his injuries at a rapid pace. But his recovery may be hindered now that his family’s insurance company declined to provide coverage. 

Watson, 16, of White Pigeon, was racing at the Mottville Speedway on May 4 when he lost control of his kart and crashed into a wall. He was airlifted to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo with head and chest injuries.

David Watson, Connor’s father, said his son surpassed the doctors’ expectations. On Tuesday Connor was alert, able to eat and able to walk with some help. 

"One of the things (the doctors) said was that the reports from the MRI are not consistent with what he's actually doing," he said. "And we just feel like the Lord's healed him."

Connor left the hospital Wednesday evening, but instead of being transferred to outpatient therapy, he is going home. Outpatient therapy facilities cannot accept Connor without insurance. 

David said he thinks his son needs about two to three weeks of rehabilitation.

When the Watsons signed up with their insurance company, they signed up for a conventional family policy. 

When Connor suffered injuries from the crash and his family filed a claim, the insurance company denied coverage based on Connor engaging in a “hazardous hobby,” which was an exclusion in the policy.

The company listed examples of what they considered hazardous hobbies, like skydiving and auto racing, but didn’t mention go kart racing. 

The family has filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, David said.

The racing community continues to help the family as much as it can. Last week racers passed their helmets out to the stands to collect money for the Watsons.

The Mottville Speedway will have a race in honor of Connor on May 26. The event will feature a 50-50 drawing, and half of the proceeds from the drawing will go to the Watson family to help pay medical bills.


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