Comedian Matt Fisher recently called out Progressive Insurance on their seemingly unethical practices when faced with a substantial claim regarding his sister’s death.
Katie Fisher was tragically killed in a car accident in June 2010. Katie’s estate immediately settled the claim with the at-fault driver, but Progressive refused to pay the estate any underinsured coverage without a judgment of liability against the driver. This forced Fisher’s family to reluctantly file suit against the driver. This is when the unexpected event occurred. Not only did Progressive refuse to pay the underinsured coverage but they actually defended the driver who killed Katie. Liability was eventually found on behalf of the driver and Progressive has been ordered to pay an unknown amount.
As outrageous as it sounds, this is often common practice for insurance companies who are in the business solely to protect their bottom line. Insurance companies have one objective and that is to limit their loss exposure. If that means defending the killer of one of their insureds, Progressive has shown they are not afraid of that fire storm. Matt Fisher’s post has caused many people to question Progressive’s actions to which Progressive provided a robotic twitter response of “This is a tragic case, and our sympathies go out to Mr. Fisher and his family for the pain they’ve had to endure. We fully investigated this claim and relevant background, and feel we properly handled the claim within our contractual obligations. Again, this is a tragic situation, and we’re sorry for everything Mr. Fisher and his family have gone through.”
This situation is precisely why one should always higher a lawyer before discussing any facts or settlements with an insurance company. This instance with Fisher’s estate is common place in personal injury litigation and requires a highly skilled lawyer to be on your side.
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If you or a loved has been injured and are in need of assistance taking on an insurance company acting in bad faith, please contact the experienced Springfield, MO personal injury law firm of Strong-Garner-Bauer, P.C. at 417-887-4300.
When you take out an insurance policy for property, health, or life insurance benefits, you have a right to receive benefits promptly when you file a legitimate claim. The insurance industry has expended a great deal of money and lobbying efforts to ensure that there is no single federal agency that oversees their policy and benefits practices. The result has been that Missouri is required to oversee bad faith insurance practices, which gives the insurance industry lobbyists more personal and direct access and influence. The following case out of California illustrates the risk an insurance company faces in denying your claim:
An elderly Hollywood Hills resident whose home was nearly destroyed when a dump truck crashed into it, rupturing a gas line and causing an explosion, was awarded more than $8 million after jurors found that his insurance company of more than 50 years failed to honor its contract.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court jury last week found that Residence Mutual Insurance Co. not only acted with malice and fraud in failing to fulfill its $220,000 policy with Robert Christopher, who was 86 at the time of the 2008 accident, but noted that its conduct was directed at a senior citizen, who is considered under California law more vulnerable than other members of the population.
“The insurance company did everything possible to try and torpedo this World War II veteran’s case,” said attorney Mark Geragos. “You wouldn’t treat your worst enemy the way this insurance company treated this policyholder of more than 50 years. This should be a message to insurance companies that you never put your interests before the interests of the insured.”
Attorneys for Residence Mutual Insurance, headquartered in Irvine, could not be reached for comment.
Christopher, a longtime Hollywood character actor, and his partner, Patricia Freiling, were inside their Alcyona Drive home in January 2008 when a dump truck hauling dirt away from a nearby construction site failed to negotiate a sharp turn. The truck was turning right at a nearly 90-degree angle from steep Primrose Avenue.
The 33-foot-long truck, which held 15 tons of dirt, toppled over on its side and slammed into their residence. The impact severed a gas line, setting off an explosion. Flames and smoke quickly enveloped the house.
The pair were trapped inside for nearly 20 minutes until they were able to dislodge a sliding door, according to court records. Christopher, a Marine Corps veteran, hurt his back trying to flee, and Freiling chipped a tooth and reinjured a previously broken wrist.
Despite the trauma of the incident, co-counsel Brian S. Kabateck said Christopher believed he could rebuild his home by getting the trucking company to compensate him through its insurance while also collecting on his homeowner’s policy, which he had purchased during the Eisenhower administration.
Residence Mutual not only held back payment, Geragos said, but charged Christopher for work done by an engineering firm as well as another company that charged him $20,000 to pack up his belongings for storage.
Geragos and Kabateck also successfully argued that the insurance company interfered in Christopher’s lawsuit against the construction company and the city.
On Friday, after a day of deliberation and a week of trial arguments, the jury awarded Christopher a combined $8,062,850 in economic, noneconomic and punitive damages.
In addition, Christopher recovered another $450,000 from the city, which settled with him in a lawsuit over the condition of the roadway.
Read More: http://www.ky3.com/mobile/movies/la-me-0318-fire-settlement-20120318,0,6598465.story
If you or a loved one have fallen victim to a denied or partially paid insurance claim, please contact the experienced Springfield bad faith insurance attorneys of Strong-Garner-Bauer, P.C. at 417-887-4300.