It is not uncommon for the public to have negative views about insurance disputes with companies in general, let alone the large-profit conglomerates like Geico, Nationwide and Progressive Insurance. These companies are well-known for frequently engaging in business practices that cater to their overall profit and leave the well-being of their paying customers as a secondary priority. Thanks to the viral nature of the internet and blogs, many have had the opportunity to read about the story of Matt Fisher and his family as they navigate the difficult road of insurance disputes with an insurance bad faith lawyer.
Preface: Matt Fisher is a comedian and blogger who lives in the Baltimore, MD area. His sister, Katie, was fatally injured in a car accident in June 2010. The facts presented in this blog post are based on Matt’s account, which he published on his blog.
Loopholes in State Laws
According to Matt, his sister Katie – who had a policy with Progressive Insurance – was driving in Baltimore on June 19, 2010 when her car was struck by another vehicle that allegedly ran a red light. There were no cameras monitoring the intersection, leaving the only evidence in the hands of a witness, who did say that Katie had a green light and the other driver did not.
Matt and his family believed that the case, as devastating and life-changing as it was, was actually pretty cut-and-dry. According to Matt, the at-fault driver’s insurance company, Nationwide Insurance, settled with his sister’s estate “basically immediately” because of how clear it was that their insured was at-fault. The driver was underinsured, however, and we all know how Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) claims can muddy the waters in insurance disputes.
Because the other driver was underinsured, the settlement amount (which is undisclosed at this point) did not amount to very much. Because Katie had UM protection in her insurance policy, Progressive was now responsible for fulfilling the remaining balance of her policy. Despite Nationwide’s willingness to settle the claim reasonably, Progressive refused to pay the policy limit to Katie’s estate, making this quite a complex example of insurance disputes.
Insurance Disputes get Ugly
Because the company refused to settle for Katie’s policy, and also because Maryland residents may not sue an insurance company over insurance disputes, the family’s only option was to sue the driver and prove that his negligence caused the accident, which would hopefully convince Progressive to pay the policy amount.
Matt and his family were hoping that filing the lawsuit alone would convince Progressive to fork over the money, but they did not. According to Matt, the company made a number of settlement offers – none of which were higher than one-third of the amount owed – and the lawsuit went to trial (this is very typical behavior for insurance companies engaged in disputes with clients. These disputes are best addressed with the help of an insurance bad faith attorney). And as if the Fishers had not gone through enough already, Progressive allegedly sent an attorney to assist Nationwide’s team in defending the driver.
“At the trial, the guy who killed my sister was defended by Progressive’s legal team,” Matt wrote on his blog. “If you are insured by Progressive, and they owe you money, they will defend your killer in court in order to not pay your policy.”
Eventually, after a long and drawn-out legal battle and one of the most disheartening insurance disputes we’ve heard of, the jury decided that the other driver was negligent and responsible for Katie’s death. As of August 15, Matt and his family were still waiting on the company to honor Katie’s policy.
Insurance Dispute Attorneys in Seattle
Unfortunately, this is just one dramatized example of insurance disputes that take place in our country every day. Thankfully for Matt, he and his family took action to see that justice would be served and that the insurance company would have to honor their client’s policy. If you have a dispute with an insurance company, contact the award-winning Seattle personal injury attorneys at Davis Law Group today at 206-727-4000 to discuss your case and explore your legal options.