$100,000 Policy Limits Turns Into $7.2 Million Dollar Settlement For Client Due To Insurance Carrier’s Foot Dragging During Settlement Negotiations In A Personal Injury Case
What initially appeared to be a multi-car rear end collision with so low an impact that it was hard to see any damage on plaintiff’s vehicle grew into a $7.2 million dollar settlement for a plaintiff. The plaintiff described as a 35-year old athletic and healthy man visited a chiropractor after his collision and within six months was described as regressing to the point where he was losing his ability to walk without assistance. The plaintiff’s attorney made a demand to settle for $100,000 policy limits; however, the defendant’s insurance carrier Liberty Mutual denied. The original trial attorney demanded $100,000, the limits of the policy about a year after the accident, and in his demand informed the carrier that he thought the value of the case was in excess of $300,000. The lawyer worked diligently and as he described, tried to bend over backwards in an attempt to get Liberty Mutual to pay the contracted policy amount of $100,000. The insurance carrier continued to drag its feet requesting more and more information including plaintiff’s work history and medical records for the last five years. The attorney supplied the insurance company with full information and every opportunity to pay. The insurance company argued that the plaintiff’s medical condition was caused by a pre-existing condition rather than the car accident and also argued that another car accident in which the plaintiff had been involved two years earlier caused the damage. The plaintiff’s attorney continued to make new demands and in December 2010 demanded $3.5 million dollars, after which point Liberty Mutual offered their policy limits of $100,000 which was denied at that point. Thereafter in April 2010, another demand was made, this time for $5.5 million dollars. The insurance company again rejected the demand and proposed mediation and plaintiff’s lawyer said no. The insurance company’s attorneys asked for more time to review documents and depose experts.
News sources indicate that the insureds had to hire their own counsel to put pressure on their insurance company Liberty Mutual. Pressure by the insurance company to resolve the case was credited with boosting the settlement value.