In December of 2012, the Court of Appeals of Kentucky decided a case that involved a Louisville bad faith issue after a car accident had occurred. (See Martindale v. First National Ins. Co. of America, 2012 WL 6632774 (Ct. App. 2012)). In this Louisville personal injury lawsuit, the state court had dismissed their bad faith claim. So, their Louisville Personal Injury Lawyer filed this appeal. The appellate court after reviewing all of the evidence held for the defendant and found that the lower court’s ruling was valid.
This Louisville car accident case began in 2000. The wrongful party was pulling out of her driveway when the plaintiff was driving down the road. The plaintiff had to swerve out of the way to avoid being hit by the other car. In doing so, he ran off the road and sideswiped a fence before hitting a tree. The two vehicles never touched. The driver of this Louisville car accident sustained a lower back injury and was ultimately fired from his job due to his inability to perform. His daughter who was also in the car sustained a mouth injury. She was six years old when the accident occurred. She had to undergo TMJ surgery.
This Louisville car accident case went to trial and the jury awarded the plaintiff about $190,000. They apportioned fault at 80% against the other car and 20% against the plaintiff with another 10% against the plaintiff for not wearing his seatbelt. The jury also awarded the child about $67,000. The Louisville Personal Injury Lawyer did a really good job.
After their trial, the plaintiff’s Louisville personal injury lawyer, in December of 2004, filed a bad faith complaint against the insurance company for the defendant. In this car accident bad faith complaint, the plaintiff’s attorney alleged the standard things. That the defendant did not negotiate in good faith, that they filed frivolous motions, that they did not properly value their claims, and so on.
In August of 2005 the plaintiffs filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In the bankruptcy petition one of the questions asked to list all law suits to which debtor is or was a party within one year. Id. To this they responded “none.” They then had their 341 hearing in September of 2005. At that hearing they were asked whether they were owed money for anything? They both responded “no” to this question. In November of 2009, the plaintiffs filed an amendment to the schedules and listed the pending bad faith claim as an asset. The bad faith insurance company moved to dismiss the plaintiffs from the bad faith claim on the grounds of judicial estoppel. They did this in August of 2010.
The court looked at all of the evidence and determined that if the plaintiffs were allowed to go forward with their bad faith claim they would not prevail and thus summary judgment on this issue was appropriate. For a bad faith cause of action to exist against an insurance company, there must be “evidence sufficient to warrant punitive damages.” (cites omitted). There must be evidence of intentional misconduct or reckless disregard of the rights of the insured. The insurance company did make offers in the case. They then reduced the offers when trial began. Even thought their offers was lower than what the jury ultimately awarded, that disparity alone is insufficient to establish bad faith. Id.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville personal injury case, please call and speak to a Louisville Personal Injury Lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are injured…Ask Andrew!!!