Insurance Company Shenanigans and Bad Faith

Stephen Ashley Barnes

Practice Area:Car / Auto Accident

Outcome:$1,610,000

Description:GF was a hard working wife and mother of two. She held two jobs and kept a wonderful home for her family. Her life was turned upside down as a result of two car accidents nearly a year apart and the horrific way her own insurance company treated her-- a loyal customer of over 20 years. GF injured her neck and right shoulder in the first accident. As a result, she was placed on light duty and eventually lost her job as a mail carrier at the local post office. Additionally, she could no longer perform her duties as a waitress. After the second accident, GF underwent a routine shoulder arthroscopy. At that time her uninsured motorist carrier hired an industry doctor who gave an opinion that her injury was related to the first accident. As a result, GF decided to settle her claim for the second accident for a total of $110,000, believing her insurance company would accept responsibility for her injuries from the first accident and fairly compensate her. No sooner had she signed a release and cashed the check, then her uninsured motorist carrier who also covered her for the first accident pulled a "switch-a-roo" and hired a different insurance industry doctor to blame the second accident for her injuries-- the one for which she had already signed a release. Although her medical bills were minimal, her lost wages due to her inability to perform her two jobs as a mail carrier and waitress totaled many hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, the insurance company forced the matter to trial believing their "switch-a-roo" would protect their money. A Hernando County jury disagreed and awarded GF over $1,300,000. Due to their bad faith conduct in not settling the case, Mr. Barnes was able to convince the court to sanction the insurance company over $200,000 in attorney fees and costs, increasing the award to GF. As one would expect of GF, her first purchase was not for herself, but instead full college tuition plans for her son and daughter.

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