Having auto insurance coverage is a requirement for California drivers, which helps pay for damages caused by a motor vehicle accident. However, this is only true if the insurer pays claims in a timely fashion. So, what happens when an insurance company delays payment after a car crash?
When Insurance Companies Don’t Cooperate
In October of 2009, an Orange County real estate developer was driving through an intersection when a car blew through a stop sign. The resulting injuries forced him to stop working and bills began to pile up due to surgery and medical treatments.
The other driver’s insurance maxed out at $100,000, but the real estate developer’s medical bills amounted to $125,000. The situation was even more dire when considering his lost wages—$600,000. That why the man filed an underinsured-motorist (UIM) claim with his insurance company.
The UIM policy maximum was $400,000, and though it would not take care of all his bills, it would relieve some pressure. So, the man filed his claim with supporting evidence of his losses and waited. Five months passed, and his insurance company hadn’t paid the claim and had done little to investigate the claim. The Orange County man demanded arbitration to settle the matter.
The insurer continued to drag its feet, eventually losing the arbitration and paying the former real estate agent $400,000. However, the process had taken so long that the man and his wife had lost two houses and his business. He took the company to court for delaying payment of his claim. A California jury agreed with the man, ordering the insurer to pay $9.96 million for economic and non-economic damages. The jury also awarded the former real estate developer $13 million in punitive damages.
Just because you pay for insurance does not mean that the insurer is going to cooperate with your claim. In some cases, they can make it difficult. When that happens, you will need experienced legal representation. Learn more about what that takes to deal with these claims by following the dedicated attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm. And if you need help or have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.