Southern California Driver Injured in Intersection Crash Wins Appeal in Legal Action Against Her Underinsured Motorist Insurer

Whenever you are taking on an insurance company in a personal injury case, you can expect that the insurer will defend itself with as many counter-arguments as possible. The defense may argue that your injuries weren’t results of your accident. The insurance company may argue that the treatment you received wasn’t really medically necessary. Regardless of the arguments advanced by the insurance company, you’ll need strong California car accident attorneys on your side to utilize the facts and the law related to your case to ensure that you get what you deserve.

One recent instance in which this occurred was a case arising out of a March 2011 Orange County car crash. Carmen suffered serious injuries in the collision. The crash was a result of another driver running a red light and slamming into her vehicle.

Although Carmen originally had no spinal tenderness or range-of-motion limitations, she eventually sought care from a chiropractor. She later saw an osteopath, who performed an MRI and diagnosed multiple disc protrusions in the lumbar and cervical spine. Eventually, Carmen underwent several epidural steroid injections to treat her back problems. These injections were extremely expensive, and the sum total of Carmen’s medical expenses quickly rose into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Carmen settled with the at-fault driver who hit her for the amount of $15,000. She then asserted a claim with her own insurance company under her underinsured motorist coverage. In her claim, she asked for $35,000. The insurer countered by offering less than $10,000. Although the insurer raised that offer several times, the case nevertheless went to arbitration. The arbitrator in Carmen’s case determined that she was entitled to the full $35,000.

Following that outcome, Carmen sued her insurance company in court. The arbitration outcome was proof that she was entitled to the full $35,000 all along, and the insurer, by refusing to pay her, engaged in bad faith, the plaintiff argued.

In this plaintiff’s appellate case, the insurer argued that it was not acting in bad faith when it didn’t pay. The insurer argued that the plaintiff’s harm was due to things other than her accident, like her obesity. (The plaintiff was an overweight woman weighing 340 pounds.) The insurer also argued that the amount of the expenses was excessive, since she did not need the sort of highly expensive steroid injections she received.

The plaintiff was able to overcome the insurer’s request for summary judgment by presenting evidence that the insurer’s method of investigating her claim arguably wasn’t reasonable. The insurer relied upon one doctor’s opinions stated in the fall of 2012, even as new information, diagnoses, and treatment recommendations emerged throughout 2013. While the insurer may have acted reasonably at first, the plaintiff had adequate proof to raise a viable argument that the insurer’s continued refusal to pay the claim may have been unreasonable and an instance of bad faith.

For reliable advice and strong advocacy to help you pursue the damages you need, talk to the skilled San Mateo car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our diligent attorneys have been helping injured people for many years take on insurance companies and other defendants to pursue recovery. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

More blog posts:

California Man Injured in Low-Speed Crash Wins $1M Verdict in ‘Eggshell Plaintiff’ Case, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published Dec. 20, 2016

California Teen’s Excessive Speed Leads Jury to Hand Out $5M Judgment in U-Turn Accident, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published Dec. 7, 2016

Contact Information