What would you do to make a little extra money?

A side job, some cash under the table, maybe get a gig online.

How about cut off your hand for insurance money?

That’s what one Slovenian woman did in early 2019, and not to hand over the details early, but it didn’t work.

Most people would be willing to give an arm and a leg for a shot at quick cash, but a couple in Slovenia took it too literally.

The courts averted their end goal of using the injury for a rich insurance payout, but on the other hand, perhaps there is more to the story than it seems.

It’s a cut and dry kind of tale that opens up a conversation about a sad topic.


10 /10 Julija Adlesic

The prime culprit and victim of this case are 22-year old Julija Adlesic from Ljubljana, Slovenia. She and her boyfriend came up with the idea and planned around it for a little over a year before committing to the deed in early 2019.

The plan involved a third party, the boyfriend’s father, and the courts, with various sentences punished all three.

9 /10 Cutting Edge

According to Julija, she cut branches with a circular saw when the “accident” occurred, and her hand was entirely severed at the wrist.

It’s hard not to emphasize this, but even the gnarliest branches of the most untamed tree in a yard shouldn’t need a circular saw to get cut.

Circular saws are power tools meant for home construction and not shaped to be wielded that way.

8 /10 The Pay Out

Shortly before the “accident,” Julija got coverage from several insurance companies for just such the occasion.

Things like bodily demanding, loss of limb, endangerment clauses, all the major benefit packages that a lumberjack would need for an emergency.

The total for payout was almost a million euros, or over $1 million, where the first half would be paid out immediately and the second in installments over the following years.

7 /10 Trip Down Memory Lane

Once the “accident” occurred, Julija’s boyfriend and father rushed her to the hospital, leaving the hand behind. The woman was bleeding from the stump of her arm with no hope of recovery.

Generally, a hand would need to be reattached within six hours to function again before the tissue loss and necrosis were too much.

They planned to leave it behind so the injury was permanent, but police investigating the scene found the hand and brought it back just in time.

6 /10 Hand Through The Bars

After investigating and discovering odd incidents, such as the boyfriend looking up hand prosthetics in the months leading up to the “accident,” the court ruled that the incident was for insurance fraud and issued sentences appropriately.

Julija was given two years in prison while her accomplices had lighter, but still consequential, penalties, and her hand was surgically reattached to partial function.

5 /10 An Accident By Any Other Name

Despite the ruling, Julija insisted it was a real accident, stating no one would cripple themselves for life and that her life was forever hurt by it.

Despite having her hand properly reattached, there are inevitable complications with any such surgery where muscle tissue, nerves, and bones might not line up correctly, and her talent will never truly recover.

If it was all for money, missing out on that payday has put her at risk for the rest of her life.

4 /10 A Big Story

Money may have only been a side objective. It’s possible that the woman was seeking attention and fame for being a victim of a terrible accident.

It is unfortunate that many self-made “accidents” result from someone desperate to be noticed. The story did receive some circulation but was quickly forgotten as it was dealt with and ruled out by the courts.

It’s also possible her boyfriend may have motivated her to do it. He was making plans alongside her the whole time. She never accused him or spoke out about emotional abuse, but it’s the silent cries that ring the loudest.

3 /10 Occam's Razor

There’s also a possibility that she was, indeed, telling the truth and that everything that led up to the incident was a mere coincidence and result of poor thought and planning.

Perhaps she had no better tool to cut branches than a circular saw. It’s made for cutting wood, all the same, and is lighter than a chainsaw and easier to use than a hand saw.

Perhaps the boyfriend was just interested in prosthetics after seeing a documentary about disabled athletes.

The insurance policies were bought out of a young adult’s motivation to enter the world for the first time as a free woman. If it was an accident, then the lesson was learned at a very steep price.

2 /10 Not The First, Or Last

People injuring themselves for money is not a novel thing—especially where insurance is involved.

In 2012, in the USA, the land of premium healthcare at premium prices, a South Carolina man was sentenced to 14 years for convincing an already disabled man to let him cut off his hand with a saw so they could split the insurance money.

The victimized man had agreed to a $5,000 payout for the injury and potentially fatal blood loss. So at least Julija was aiming high.


1 /10 Desperate Times

In an age of sensationalized medical drama and harrowing tales of overcoming adversity making headlines always, people like Julija may feel left out of the loop.

She was an ordinary, healthy young woman with a bright future and a possibly loving boyfriend to share it with. But what good is good health with no money to spend?

There are entire game shows where the premise is to endure humiliation and harm for cash. The whole business models of YouTube and live streaming revolve around it.

Whether she was influenced or thought she was a criminal mastermind without a single clue to catch her, she played her hand and lost the gamble.

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