Corporation wants settlement intended for paralyzed child

Robert Doss is fighting a billion dollar corporation over an issue that families face after tragedy.

The question is: who is entitled to the money from a settlement? The victim or the company that paid for the victim's insurance coverage?

The company in this case is Doss's former employer, Service Corporation International.

When Doss worked for SCI, he and his 3-year-old old son, Shaun, were in an auto collision. Shaun's seat belt broke on impact and he suffered a head and spine injury, which left him paralyzed from the chest down.

Four years later, the Dosses reached a confidential settlement with the other driver and the dealership that sold them their car. But just when things were looking up for the now 7-year-old Shaun, the family received a notice in the mail from SCI's insurance company. It said the company intended to recoup the money it paid for Shaun's hospital stay.

"What is the point of having insurance? I would never have had insurance if I knew they were going to take it back," said Doss.

Doss said he paid his insurance premiums every month, but SCI is a self-insured company and under federal law, it is entitled to get reimbursed for its expenses from any third-party payment to the Dosses.

CBS 5 Investigates traveled to Houston, Texas, where SCI is based. The company is worth nearly $3 billion. A company spokesperson told CBS 5 News she would not comment on the case.

"There are several appropriate parties that are in discussion and trying to come to a conclusion that is comfortable for the family and comfortable for the company," said Lisa Marshall, managing director of communications for SCI.

The Doss family attorney told CBS 5 News that SCI is seeking to be reimbursed $180,000. Although the settlement the family reached is confidential, the attorney said the amount SCI is attempting to recoup would all but wipe out the settlement.

Copyright 2011 KPHO. All rights reserved.