The family of a young British man left for dead following a shocking hit-and-run in Thailand and InsureandGo refused the claim, saying the crash was Jake Tonkin’s own fault
Jake remains in a critical condition in hospital in Phuket following the collision on Sunday night – but his travel insurance company are allegedly refusing to pay for his treatment.
The 23-year-old had been riding pillion on a friend’s motorcycle when a car came around the corner on the wrong side of the road and hit them.
Both were thrown from the bike, with Jake landing underneath the wheels of the vehicle as it fled the scene, Manchester Evening News reports.
He was given life-saving mouth-to-mouth by a Russian woman who had heard the crash and ran to their aid before being taken to Phuket International Hospital.
Jake’s mum Jane, who lives in Cheshire, says he suffered serious injuries to his head and is currently undergoing a series of neurological tests.
He was also left with a fractured femur, as well as a second break to his leg, but his family claim doctors at the hospital refused to treat any of his injuries until payment had been guaranteed.
Jane, 62, says the former Knutsford High pupil had been travelling on and off around Asia for the past two years and had always had a travel insurance policy.
She explained that up until around a month a go when he broke his elbow, her son had never made a claim, and the company InsureandGo funded the medical bill no problem.
But when Jane contacted them this time she claimed they refused to pay out, claiming Jake’s injuries were as a result of ‘careless driving on his part’.
After being told by Jake’s friends in Thailand he was in desperate need of surgery, the family managed to scrape together enough money to get the hospital to operate, but he still has a long way to go and more treatment is needed.
In a bid to find the funds, the family have launched a Crowdfunding appeal on JustGiving which raised more than £9,000 in just a day.
Jane said the family can’t believe the amount of support they have received already.
“The first £10 came, then someone donated £50 and I burst into tears.
“I was a bit hesitant of asking for help at first, but people have been so kind and thoughtful.
“We have been overwhelmed by it, everyone sending best wishes and kind thoughts, I can’t begin to explain the affect that has had on us as a family. It’s been really heartwarming and we are so grateful.”
A target of £12,000 was set, but it’s likely the final costs will be a lot higher.
“I just want him home,” she added.
Jane said she contacted InsureAndGo via its emergency line, telling them her son was in urgent need of surgery. She said they kept promising to call her back, but never did, and instead she was forced to chase them over and over again.
“I was frightened to death,” she said. “I was being told my son was in a serious condition in Thailand and doctors wouldn’t do anything other than dress his injuries until they were guaranteed payment.
“The insurance company kept saying they wanted to speak to Jake but I told them he was unconscious so they couldn’t.
“I was listed on his policy so they could speak to me, but they were saying there was nothing they could do until they’d spoken to him.
“At one point I was calling their medical emergency line for two hours on two phones before anyone answered.
“I was distraught, I didn’t know what to do, what to think, who to go to.
“Then they refused the claim, saying the crash was a result of reckless driving on his part – he was a passenger and it hadn’t been their fault.
“He’d had that insurance for two years and had never claimed until a month ago when he broke his elbow after falling off a moped.
“I’d wanted him to come home there and then, there are so many accidents involving mopeds and motorbikes over there, but it’s their main form of transport.
“It’s not his fault he has been unlucky and unfortunate – he didn’t plan to throw himself under a car.”
An InsureAndGo spokeswoman said: “Sometimes our customers find themselves in situations that make the headlines back home.
“Sometimes these stories are accurate and sometimes they’re missing pertinent facts.
“At InsureandGo, we take customer privacy very seriously, and that means unless a customer gives us direct permission to speak to the media, or anyone else, regarding their claim, we can’t comment on their case – no matter what’s being said.
“What we can say is that we never like hearing that something bad has happened to one of our customers on a trip; no matter how many claims we handle, the news of an accident or an ailment still upsets the team involved.”