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Family left with bill after Victoria woman injured in Thailand

Every bone in Danielle Kliaman's foot was broken when she was hit by a truck while riding a scooter in Thailand on Saturday. Now her family is having to pay tens of thousands of dollars for her care after her travel medical insurance company refused to pay up.

A young Victoria woman’s dream trip to Thailand turned into a nightmare after every bone in her foot was broken on Saturday when she was hit by a truck while riding a scooter.

To make matters worse, her travel medical insurance company has not approved her claim, forcing her family to use credit cards to pay for her care, with her mother signing a promissory note to the Thai hospital as a guarantee for the balance.

Danielle Kliaman, 21, who was injured on the island of Ko Samui, is currently in the ICU of a hospital in Bangkok fighting an infection that set in due inadequate medical care following the collision.

She had purchased travel insurance for her trip that maxes out claim payments at $250,000, but the company underwriting the policy has so far not approved payment for the claim, putting a financial strain on her family, who have set up an online fundraising page to help with the mounting bills.

“Dani did her due diligence [by buying travel medical insurance],” said her father, Howard Kliaman, 60. “We have given the company all the documents they requested, the eyewitness statements, the police report and the doctor’s report and each time, they just ask for more.”

Kliaman has asked that the name of the company not be publicized as he is still in negotiations with them.

He said the whole family has “maxed out their credit cards” to come up with $30,000 just to cover Danielle’s medical expenses so far. “But she still has at least three surgeries ahead of her before she is stable enough to return home.”

He estimates that the bill could easily hit $60,000 before the reconstructive surgeries needed to repair her right foot. Due to the force of the collision, some of the bones in her foot were lost or shattered.

It’s not the first negative experience with travel medical insurance for Howard Kliaman, who said his claim was rejected for medical costs incurred after he contracted COVID-19 during a trip to Mexico a few years ago.

“I lost a few thousand dollars that time. This time it can be catastrophic. We don’t know what it’s going to cost, but we are going to do whatever is necessary to get my daughter home. It’s tough knowing she is 11,000 kilometres away and there is nothing I can do.”

In the interim, Danielle’s mother, Annette, has taken time off work and has flown to Thailand to be by her daughter’s side.

Danielle’s older sister Jessica has set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $150,000 to help pay for her medical bills and eventual rehabilitation expenses. 

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