Geico to Pay $23 Million to Newport Beach Motorist
On October 29, 2009, a Newport Beach motorist was severely injured in a car accident. The opposing driver ran a stop sign and severely impacted the motorist ” causing him to be hospitalized for nerve and blood vessel damage. At the end of the case, Geico was ordered to compensate $23,000,000 for practicing bad faith.
Loss and Suffering
Such impact had paralyzed the victims left arm, as well as leaving him in a $900,000 loss from injuries and lost income. Since the accident, the victim underwent surgery and received ongoing treatment in 2010 and 2011. These medical expenses added up to over $125,000. The severe impact and injuries left the motorist unable to work.
Given the other driver’s insurance was limited to $100,000, the victim was inclined to file a claim with his own insurance, Geico Indemnity, Co. In April and May of 2012, the victim had sent a request to his insurer in the amount of $400,000. This request began the horrifying six-year dispute with Geico.
A Delay in Communication
Though the accident was in 2009, the victim had still not received a proper response from insurance. Being unable to work, after enduring surgery and treatment, as well as losing two of his properties, the victim had retained with Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, a Newport Beach law firm. “We asked GEICO to tender the $400,000 in underinsured motorist payments and $5,000 in medical payments on July 9, 2012, and it was ignored. The arbitrator awarded the $400,000 to the victim in November 2013. We tried to settle in October 2014 rather than enter litigation with a bad faith law suit, but were rejected, hence filing on Dec. 12, 2014,” said Ballidis. The victims claim wasn’t fulfilled until 1 ½ years after he filed the claim.
The Motorists Life on Hold
The victim was a real estate developer in Newport Beach. After the accident, he was unable to work and lost two of his properties. One of the properties was a development in the making, a project in Colorado. Since the victim was injured and unable to travel, oversee the project, or manage the entirety of the investment, this $1.4 million development was lost.
A four-week trial beginning March 29th had concluded that the victim, must receive $9.9 million in general damages. A couple weeks later on April 10th, the jury further awarded $13 million from punitive damages ” thus bringing the grand total settlement to $23 million.
In total, the following were awarded to the victim:
- $9,962,494.66 via overall Bad Faith Conduct
- $4,000,000 for pain and suffering
- $1,942,618 for the loss of business (including interest)
- $3,911,520 for the loss of business (including interest); and
- $108,335 in attorneys’ fees
While being awarded from damages, the jury summarized the following:
- Geico delayed proper payments of policy rights unreasonably and without proper cause,
- The delays in proper payments caused harm to the plaintiff,
- Insurer Geicos’ actions had resulted in past and future economic loss to the plaintiff,
- Insurer Geico had prompted noneconomic loss including emotional distress and mental suffering,
- Insurer Geico had engaged in conduct with malice, oppression and fraud; and
- Insurer Geico’s team of officers and managers knew of, approved and authorized the misconduct
“Mr. [person] couldn’t work, he had ongoing medical bills he couldn’t pay, and they lost their two homes, which was humiliating,” Ballidis said. “GEICO knew of their troubles, but rather than expediting reimbursement, the company continued with delay tactics. It has a proven pattern of delaying payments of claims to try and force plaintiffs to accept a lower amount, while they have use of the money. They requested spurious and irrelevant documents, disputed the need for Mr. [person] medical treatments and delayed scheduling a medical examiner for more than a year. The GEICO-appointed examiner agreed with Mr. [person] doctors, which GEICO never shared until forced to during arbitration.”
Bad Faith Attorneys
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first occurrence of bad faith insurance practice. While this may serve as a great example, there are many policyholders out there who are unaware of this neglect. In fact, many of these policyholders often settle for the first offer their insurance gives them, which may be unreasonably unfair. There is also another option, whereas a well-deserved claim gets wrongfully denied. In order to avoid this belittlement, or to assure your claim will be properly executed, contact our Insurance Bad Faith Attorneys at JT Legal Group.
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