This case is about a woman and her Louisville car accident attorney that file a lawsuit claiming unfair settlement practices and the Court hearing all the evidence decides that more evidence is needed in order for this Court to determine whether or not the Plaintiff actually has a case.
In June of 2010, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky heard a case that involved a woman and her car accident and the bad faith violation (Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act) she alleged against the Defendant. (See Phelps v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 2010 WL 2471845 (W.D.Ky.)).
The facts of this Kentucky car accident case are as follows. The Defendant was driving in Louisville when he pulled out from a gas station in front of the Plaintiff causing the Plaintiff’s car to strike his car. Liability is not in question. The Plaintiff was transported to a hospital and was diagnosed with herniated disc requiring surgery. Id. The Louisville car accident was in July of 2003 and Plaintiff’s surgery was on October 15, 2003. Id. Plaintiff submitted her claim to Defendant’s insurance company (State Farm) for her personal injuries and damage to her car. Id. State Farm began to investigate the claim and found in February of 2004 that Plaintiff had a preexisting back problem from a 1999 car accident. Id. After further investigation, Defendant found out that all therapy for the 1999 car accident ended in 1999 and thus decided to make an offer of $25,000 to settle this claim. Id.
Plaintiff’s Louisville car accident attorney thought the offer was too low unless that was the entire policy limits and requested information to find out if that was the case. Id. Plaintiff and Defense in this Louisville car accident case went back and forth a few times until finally Plaintiff did not hear back from Defendant and in April of 2005, Plaintiff file her Louisville car accident case. Id. Plaintiff’s Louisville car accident attorney felt that the value of the case was around $150,000. Id.
After depositions Defense counsel advised his client to increase their offer and finally told Plaintiff’s car accident lawyer that the policy limits were $50,000. Id. Plaintiff offered to settle for the full amount and Defense counsel countered at $40,000. Id. Then Defense counsel found out about some more medical bills and then finally offered the full $50,000. Id. Plaintiff’s Louisville car accident attorney then filed the UCSPA lawsuit in state court. Id. The case was removed to Federal court. Id.
The UCSPA has 17 unfair claims settlement practices. Id. Plaintiff invoked only 3 of them. Id. Plaintiff stated that the Defendant “failed to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies; … not attempting in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear; and compelling insureds to institute litigation to recover amounts due under an insurance policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in actions brought by such insureds.” (cites omitted). Id.
The Court after reviewing the facts dismissed the first and third UCSPA arguments of Plaintiff and focused in on the second. Id. Further, the Court pointed out that a condition precedent to bringing a statutory bad faith action is that the claimant was damaged by reason of the violation of the statute. Id. Thus, the Court held that the Plaintiff was given an opportunity to put in evidence that she was humiliated in having to wait for her fair settlement of the policy limits. Id. “Because the plaintiff has settled and dismissed the underlying suit, the only damages she can claim in this action are for injuries sustained as a result of State Farm’s allegedly unreasonably delay in offering her the $50,000 limits of its policy.” Id.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville automobile accident matter, please call and speak to a Louisville automobile accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew S. Alitowski at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are injured…Ask Andrew!!!