Insurance Company Pays Policy Limits on Pre-existing Injury Case

Stephen Rogers Bough

Practice Area:Insurance

Outcome:$100,000 Settlement

Description:Farmers Insurance Company agreed to pay the $100,000 policy limits on case involving pre-existing injuries to the back. The plaintiff was injured in a wreck on February 21, 2009. Two month prior to the wreck the plaintiff had undergone back surgery to treat pressure on the spinal cord caused by bulging vertebrae. Her treating doctor, Dr. Robert M. Drisko, reported she was doing well. After the crash the doctors removed a bone stimulator. A common defense in litigation is the pre-existing injury. However, we were able to document the problems that came after the car wreck through the treating doctor. Addressing the pre-existing defense head-on is the only way to avoid the potentially powerful defense. The key to getting a policy limits settlement is to remind the insurance company that 1. they owe fiduciary duty to its insured; 2. that the insurance company must protect the insured’s financial interest, not just its own; 3. prove to the insurance company that the insured has a realistic chance of being exposed to a judgment in excess of the coverage; 4. remind the insurance company that they need to inform the insured/defendant that they have the right to personal legal counsel; 5. raise the potential to a R.S.Mo. § 537.065 agreement. Farmers Insurance Company, when presented with a thorough demand package, a gentle reminder of its fiduciary duties and a time limited demand, did the right thing by the plaintiff and the defendant/insured and paid the policy limits.