Disney Reneges On Ride Injury Payment Promise, Reader Wins With EECB

Disney, inventors of childhood itself, told Daniel they would foot the bill after he got injured on their California Adventure ride. Then when Daniel and his wife Jane tried to collect, they got strung along for months by Garth Steever in guest claims. When they finally locked him down 11 months after the incident, Garth told them Disney changed its mind. By this time, the medical bills had already been sent to collections. Then Jane read about how to send an EECB on The Consumerist, and stormed the ramparts of Cinderella Castle. Here’s her letter, and success story…

Dear Disney,

My name is Jane [redacted]. On September 28th, 2007, my husband, Daniel, and I went to California Adventure on the 2nd day of our two-day Disney pass. Around 11 a.m. we rode the Maliboomer. After our ride was over, I got off the attraction, but Daniel stayed to ride again. While I waited on a bench, Daniel went to get back on and in the process fell and hit his head on the ground, knocking him unconscious and cutting his forehead open. Almost instantly, numerous park officials were at the ride helping him. The care he was given at the park was comprehensive and prompt, and for that we are appreciative. While waiting for the ambulance, he and I had a conversation with a very kind Disney nurse. We discussed the process of how Disney would handle this incident, and she said not to worry, that we should give the hospital Daniel’s health insurance information and Disney would reimburse the insurance company (United Health Care). In addition, she said Disney would send us two passes to the parks to make up for the day we missed due to the incident. I don’t remember her name, and I apologize for that, but I’m sure you can understand I was distraught. We went to Western Medical Center where Daniel was treated and released several hours later.

Several months later, we started receiving bills from the hospital and ambulance service for the co-pays and deductibles that Daniel’s insurance did not satisfy. Thinking what we were told about the billing to be the truth, we called the companies and advised them that they would receive payment from Disney. We kept receiving bills, so finally in February we were able to get in touch with Disney Guest Claims, and they advised us that the claim had been assigned to Mr. Garth Steever.

From February to August, we tried over and over to get in touch with Mr. Steever to have a complete conversation about Disney’s position on the incident. Mr. Steever would occasionally return a call or email and ask when a good time was to call us back to discuss. We would give him a date and time, but he would not call back. This finally came to a head last Friday (August 15th) when we were contacted by a collection agency. Daniel and I are both hard workers and have spent our entire lives building good credit, so to have our credit harmed by something that should have been settled almost a year ago is absolutely unacceptable. I left an urgent voicemail for Mr. Steever, and when I still had not heard back from him after several hours, I got in touch with his manager, Mr. Bob Weise. Mr. Weise apologized for Mr. Steever’s continuous lack of response and scheduled a teleconference for Mr. Steever, my husband, and myself for 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, August 19th.

By the time Mr. Steever did call on the 19th it was almost 2 p.m. EST. He advised us that Disney investigated and decided that it was not liable for the incident, so they would not pay the lien the insurance company served them (which occurred on Feburary 20th, but coincidentally we heard nothing about until this phone conversation), and therefore could not make a good faith payment to us. He also explained that if the insurance company had not served a lien against Disney, then Disney would have more “flexibility” to pay the claim. We asked him if that meant that if Daniel didn’t have insurance that Disney would pay the claim, and he said “yes.”

Does this make sense to you? It doesn’t to us. Essentially, Disney is punishing us for being hard-working, conscientious people who have the foresight to protect ourselves by purchasing health insurance.

We asked how Disney determined that it was not liable, and Mr. Steever advised that he researched a state inspection of the ride (that was conducted a few days after the incident occurred) and also interviews with Disney employees. This was the first we heard about any of this, and when I told him that we would need copies of the state inspection and the employee interviews, he told me that we are not allowed to receive copies of the interviews because they are confidential Disney property. Once again, this does not make sense. We are not allowed access to documents concerning my husband and his injury?

When I asked Mr. Steever when they determined that Disney was not liable and therefore not willing to pay the claim, he advised it was “sometime in April.” Again, this conversation took place on August 19th, so that is a full four months that we were left in the dark about this. When I asked him why it took him so long to let us know, he said he was sorry, but he “dropped the ball.” I’m sure you will agree that any “dropped ball” that damages someone else’s credit is a pretty serious ball to drop. Is it standard Disney practice to wait four months to let an injured party know that their claim has been denied? Clearly we are infuriated. If we had not been told in the first place that Disney would pay the costs arising out of the incident, this never would have happened. But more importantly, if Mr. Steever had done his job and notified us promptly about Disney’s decision, our credit would not have been harmed.

Daniel and I are not out to gain financially from this. We want the bills paid and this situation to be rectified immediately as we were told it would be from the beginning. So we expect Disney to reimburse Daniel’s insurance company for what they have paid and to pay the deductible amounts that have been billed to us. A summary of the totals is below.

Billing Company | Amount Paid by Insurance | Amount Billed to Us

Pacific Shores Radiology Medical Group | $120.00 | $80.00
CARE Ambulance Service, Inc. | $379.20 | $344.80
JJ&R Emergency Medical Group of California, Inc. | $214.81 | $53.70
Western Medical Center Anaheim | $897.26 | $299.31
TOTAL | $1,611.27 | $777.81

In addition, we expect Disney to cooperate and provide any documentation we may need in order to repair our credit. Coincidentally, we never received those park passes we were promised, either.

I am copying this email to several companies that make customer service a priority. I can be reached any weekday after 4:30 p.m. EST and any time during the weekend at [redacted]. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to a quick and satisfactory resolution to this issue.


Jane [redacted]

This email did just the trick and we got a call the next day. Disney advised they will pay all the bills AND give us the passes to Disney.

We got the idea from your website. Thanks so much!

It’s easy to send an EECB like Jane and so many other Consumerist readers have to done, solving the seemingly irresolvable. Here’s how to get started.

(Photo: sanctumsolitude)

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