Wittmer & Linehan Take Insurance Company All the Way to Federal Court
Roberta V. D. was injured in a motor vehicle accident and suffered a herniated disc in her neck that required surgery. She retained a Palm Beach law firm to present a claim for her damages. The at-fault driver was insured with $10,000 of liability coverage, but the Defendant’s insurance company denied that the disc was injured or that surgery was required. A pre-suit settlement offer was rejected by the Defendant’s insurer and a lawsuit was filed. The insurance company employed the typical defense strategy of retaining an expert medical doctor to testify that the disc was not herniated and that the surgery was not required. Following suit, several other offers to resolve the case were rejected by the Defendant’s insurer, and ultimately a jury returned a verdict awarding Roberta $350,000.
Roberta retained our office to sue the Defendant’s insurer in order to recover the full verdict. A bad faith lawsuit was filed against the insurance company, alleging it failed to comply with Florida’s laws requiring an insurance company to properly evaluate her claim and settle in a responsible manner. The Defendant’s insurer fought each discovery request for complete information from the claim file. Ultimately, the court required the insurance company to turn over all claim records. Still, the insurance company refused to settle our client’s claim. Two years passed and a jury trial was set for December 2013 in the Miami Federal Court.
Our office presented Roberta’s case to the federal jury for four days, during which the jury heard how the insurance company had actually entered information at an early stage in the claim process, noting that Roberta had sustained a “herniated disc” and needed surgery as a direct result of the motor vehicle accident. Finally, just prior to closing arguments, the insurance company approached our office and admitted that the case needed to settle before the jury rendered its verdict. Faced with the prospect of revealing bad faith conduct, the insurance company settled Roberta’s case for $500,000!
We are pleased to have assisted Roberta in this very hard-fought case. This case highlights the incredible challenges a client faces when an insurance company attempts to save money and force a settlement for low policy limits, despite clear evidence of injury from an accident.
Choosing a law firm that understands Florida’s bad faith insurance laws is crucial to recovering full value on your injury case. Please consider Wittmer & Linehan when making that selection. Wittmer & Linehan: Experience Counts. Results Matter.