Suffering a personal injury in an auto accident is bad enough, but when the insurance company refuses in bad faith to negotiate or settle a claim, the impact can be devastating. Here is a case where an insurance company put their bottom line profits over their obligation to honor a contract. While the plaintiff eventually won her case, it took nearly four years.
A 41-year-old woman was a rear-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck from behind by another car. The impact caused the Altima to strike another vehicle stopped in front of it. The passenger was treated and released at a local hospital. Although she complained of low-back pain, the woman was not diagnosed with a cervical intervertebral disc herniation and bulge until years later. Eight months of physical therapy and two epidural steroid injections did not prove successful; a neurosurgeon recommended spinal surgery.
The woman filed a lawsuit against her insurance company seeking payment of underinsured motorist benefits. Allstate disputed damages, arguing that the woman’s cervical conditions were entirely pre-existing and had no relation to the accident. After a four-day trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff; she was awarded $1.2 million in unspecified damages.