There was a very interesting jury verdict returned last week in a federal court in Las Vegas Nevada. The verdict was returned in an area of law that has not yet been discussed in Lawsuit Finance Blog. If you purchase a private disability insurance policy, or such a policy is provided as a benefit by your employer, you are entitled to valuable benefits if you become disabled from injury or illness. There are many qualifiying issues involved with cases like these, but the basic premise is that if you become disabled, and you have a disability policy, you get the benefits that your premiums paid for.
Back to the jury in Las Vegas. It returned unanimous verdicts last week against Paul Revere Life Insurance Company and UnumProvident Corporation (Unum Group) in the partial retrial of a lawsuit originally tried to verdict in 2004. In the 2004 trial, the jury awarded $1.6 Million in compensatory damages and $10 Million in punitive damages to G. Clinton Merrick in connection with the insurers’ denial of his disability claim. The insurers appealed that award, and the US Court of Appeals reversed the punitive award and sent the case back to US District Court for retrial before a new jury.
The new jury ordered Paul Revere Life Insurance Co. to pay $24 Million and UnumProvident Corporation was ordered to pay $36 Million. The punitive award of $60 Million is six times the previous award that had been appealed by the insurers following the 2004 trial.
But here is the important aspect of this case that every disability policy holder should know about. A terrific trial lawyer by the name of Rick Friedman handled this case and alleged that the insurance companies’ claims handling practices were improper. In other words, the companies created a dishonest claims evaluation system that virtually guaranteed claims denial in the vast majority of cases. According to Friedman, “the jury heard evidence of a fifteen year scheme to cheat disabled people. The money made off this scheme is in the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. Jury after jury, and regulator after regulator has condemned their practices, but still they continue. The verdicts will keep coming until their practices change.” There have been multiple government investigations of these practices as well as separate expose’s by CBS’ 60 Minutes and Dateline NBC. It is the dishonesty that resulted in the huge punitive (punishment to the insurance company) damage award in this case.
The bottom line here is that the policy holder should not take “no” for an answer from a disability insurance company without first seeking assistance from a competant trial lawyer like Rick Friedman. Insurance companies love taking your money in what they call “premiums”; they do not love paying out your money in what they call “benefits”. Aside from blatant insurance company dishonesty, the other shame here is that these are 1st party insurance claims; they should not be adversarial.
As you can see, disability insurance lawsuits are hard faught and, potentially, very valuable claims. The two sides of the lawsuit are not equal. On the one side, you have a very powerful and rich insurance company. On the other, you have a disabled individual. Who do you think is better prepared to fight the case to the end? The goal of the powerful insurance company is to wait out the disabled individual until he runs out of money or the will to carry on. That is where lawsuit funding from Lawsuit Financial Corporation can assist. If you are having financial difficulties while fighting for your rights under a disability insurance policy, call us or visit our website and ask about interim legal funding. Providing lawsuit capital is not a “lawsuit loan“, because the money is excused if you lose your case. Litigation finance principal and profit (if any) is paid only if the case resolves in your favor. Litigation financing is available to attorneys who need assistance in financing lawsuits; lawsuit capital is available to plaintiffs who need assistance with ordinary bills under extraordinary cicumstances like those that existed in Las Vegas. Lawsuit Financial Corporation is a leading provider of lawsuit financing. The company and its attorney/director, have more combined legal and litigation finance experience than anyone in the industry.
If you have an attorney and have filed a lawsuit as the result of the denial of diability benefits from a group or privately purchased policy, Lawsuit funding may be available to you. If you qualify, you don’t have to wait to resolve your lawsuit to get the money you need; Lawsuit Financial will look at your case, work with your attorney, and provide the legal funding necessary to relieve the financial pressure to settle early and cheap. We also provide litigation funding for Auto Accident victims and all other personal injury victims with pending lawsuits. Call us, toll free, at 1-877-377-SUIT (7848), and talk to an experienced legal finance representative for free. Or, visit us on the web at www.lawsuitfinancial.com. We will do everything in our power to assist you.