Bad Faith Case Leads to $250,000 Settlement in Crawford County, Illinois
Our client Ron was severely injured when a car ran a stop sign and t-boned him on his motorcycle. Ron and his passenger were pushed by the car completely through the intersection causing him to suffer from a compound fracture of his ankle and leg, a partially torn rotator cuff and numerous other injuries. Ron's ankle required surgery to repair and he spent several days in the hospital and months in physical therapy.
The driver of the other vehicle was ticketed for failure to yield, but then denied running the stop sign and instead, blamed Ron for causing the collision. She went so far as to hire an attorney to fight the citation for several months. Because of this, her insurance company initially denied the claim, choosing to take her word over Ron's and the investigating officer. This denial forced us to file suit against the other driver on Ron's behalf. However, after her traffic case was set for trial, she pled guilty to the ticket and her insurer decided to pay its full policy limits of $100,000.00, an amount that did not even pay for all of Ron's medical treatment.
Luckily for Ron, he had additional underinsured motorist coverage through his own insurer (coverage that some folks are unaware they have!) which provided an additional $150,000.00 over and above the other driver's coverage. Ron made a claim for settlement with his insurer for the full policy value, but they balked and instead made a low ball offer to settle for pennies on the dollar. We refused to accept their valuation of the claim and filed a lawsuit against them for breach of contract. We also sued for bad faith, alleging that the insurance adjuster assigned to Ron's claim had refused to deal with him fairly and had failed to properly value Ron's claim.
During the discovery portion of the bad faith lawsuit, the insurer tried every trick in the book to keep us from getting access to their claims file and the adjuster's notes. They tried to delay. They tried to force the court to split our claims into separate ones and prevent us from discovery into the claims file until after the trial of the breach of contract claim. When that didn't work, they tried to delay by insisting on entry of protective orders. After the Judge ordered them to turn over the files, they went so far as to turn over only redacted ones, hiding from us the truly sensitive claims notes. Ultimately, we were able to get access to the full claims file and, just as we thought, the adjuster had acted in bad faith by failing to offer Ron the actual value that his own insurer had placed on the claim.
When many firms would have given up, taken the easy money and moved on, we continued to fight tooth and nail for Ron. Only after this long, hard fought discovery battle, did the insurer finally off its policy limits resulting in a final settlement for Ron of $250,000.00.
Practice area(s): Personal Injury, Car / Auto Accident, Insurance