Wells Call Injury Lawyers recently helped a client obtain a settlement for much more than the insurance company’s policy limits, and the insurance company agreed to pay it.
Normally, a person’s insurance policy limits are the maximum amount that a person can recover for their injuries. In California, the automobile policy limits are extremely low. The minimum required by law is only $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. (Click here to learn more about the minimum limits in California.)
In many cases, this amount does not even pay for a person’s stay at the hospital. If a person needs extensive medical treatment or misses work for a significant amount of time, that tiny amount will not come close to fully compensating them for their injuries.
One of the ways we help our clients at Wells Call Injury Lawyers is by recognizing as soon as possible when a case will likely be worth more than the insurance policy limits. In those cases, it is important to act fast to get the client the best result.
In this particular case, we knew that our client was in a very serious automobile collision with some serious injuries. We also learned that the insurance policy limits were only $25,000.
Our client did not have a large uninsured motorist policy, so his own insurance policy couldn’t protect him. (Click here to learn more about getting the best insurance to protect yourself.)
We also knew that the at-fault driver didn’t have substantial assets and wouldn’t be able to pay a judgment himself. So we acted right away. We sent over the substantial medical bills and medical records showing the serious injuries to the insurance company and sent them an offer to settle the case for the policy limits.
We reminded them of the harm it would do to their own policyholder if we had to take the case to trial. We gave them a clear deadline to respond to our offer, and we informed them that we would be willing to go to trial against their policyholder if the insurance company refused the offer to settle.
This should have been an easy case for the insurance company. They should have seen that my client was seriously hurt and should have done what it could to protect their policyholder. Instead, they decided to play games. Instead of accepting our offer to settle, they used one of their favorite delay tactics.
They said that they still needed more information and couldn’t accept or reject our offer. The deadline passed, and they still hadn’t accepted the offer. By failing to accept our reasonable offer, this insurance company was committing bad faith against its policyholder.
This opens them up to a huge amount of liability, and allowed us to seek even more than the policy limits to compensate our clients. (Learn more about insurance bad faith cases here.)
A few weeks later, the insurance company called us and said that they were willing to accept our offer and settle for $25,000. At this point in time, many attorneys would have accepted this offer and moved on to the next case.
They may have told their client, “I’m sorry, but this is the only insurance available, and it’s the best we can do.” Not at Wells Call Injury Lawyers. We knew that our client deserved more, and we were willing to do whatever it took to get him better and to get him the best we could.
When the insurance company called to say they accepted our offer. We told them, “That ship has sailed. Our offer has expired, and we will now seek a full judgment against your policyholder. We also knew that our client needed to get medical treatment to get better.
He didn’t have health insurance, and we found a doctor who was willing to help him and defer payment until after we resolved the case. Even though this was risky for the doctor to agree to treat the patient with no guarantee, he was willing to help this patient because he trusted that we would do the best we could for this client.
With the treatment from this excellent doctor, our client made great improvements in his health and became hopeful that he could make a good recovery.
At this point in time, our client decided that he wanted to give the insurance company another chance to do the right thing. We then told the insurance company that we would not settle for $25,000, but we would agree to settle the case for $100,000.
The insurance company knew they had messed up before, and when given the opportunity, they did the right thing and agreed to pay our client $100,000. Four times the amount of their insurance policy.
Contact a California Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer Today
Although we may not get the same result in every single case, we will apply that same approach of never giving up on our clients. It’s that extra effort that makes the difference in the lives of our clients, and we want to always do the best we can.