Articles Posted in Insurance Claims

Mr. Doe was riding his moped in Raleigh, N.C., when he was struck from behind by a driver of Roe Co. truck.  A bystander who witnessed the crash chased the driver of the truck and wrote down the truck’s license number, which was traced back to the Roe Co.

Mr. Doe suffered rib fractures and a collapsed lung, which required a 79-day hospitalization. During that time, Mr. Doe suffered a stroke, which led to his further decline.

Mr. Doe claimed that Roe Co. was liable for the truck driver’s conduct. The Doe attorney was able to ascertain the identity of the driver using Google Earth, which showed the truck parked outside of the driver’s home.

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Eduardo Guzman was employed by TDH Mechanical, which provided heating, ventilation and air conditioning services. TDH bought an insurance policy from Columbia Insurance Group to cover the period from April 2016 through April 2017. Rockwell Properties owned a part of the property under construction in Chicago.

Prairie Management & Development was the construction manager at this property. In February 2017, Prairie and Rockwell contracted with TDH to provide HVAC services at this property.

The contract contained provisions stating that TDH assumed responsibility and liability for any damages or injury of any kind to all persons and all property growing out of TDH’s work on the project. The contract also specified that both Prairie and Rockwell were to be named as additional insureds on TDH’s insurance policy.

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During discovery in a negligence case, State Farm Insurance Co. retained outside counsel to defend Allison Rancour. In this Kane County case, the attorneys named Drs. Benjamin Goldberg and Michael Musacchio as controlled experts. The plaintiff requested a list of the amounts paid to each of the doctors in every case where they were hired by State Farm and the group of State Farm employees that practiced law in Chicago known as Bruce Farrel Dorn & Associates.

The defendant refused to comply and the court sanctioned the defendant and attorneys $25 a day for failing to comply. The attorney for the defendant and State Farm argued that the judge erred in commanding discovery from non-parties that had not been subpoenaed. And because neither the attorneys nor outside counsel hired by State Farm nor its client were employees of State Farm, the law firm claimed they could not be compelled to provide information possessed by State Farm.

The appellate court affirmed the discovery order but reversed the sanction because the outside firm used a “friendly contempt” for immediate review, thus the appellate court explained that there was no need to subpoena State Farm or the Bruce Farrel Dorn & Associates law firm because the discovery order was aimed at Rancour and the outside law firm. The decision of the appellate court was based on Szczeblewski v. Gossett, 342 Ill. App. 3d 344 (2003), and Oelze v. Score Sports Venture, 401 Ill. App. 3d 110 (2010) for the Second District. The court concluded that “the court correctly applied existing case law, which holds that a party has reasonable control over the documents possessed by her insurer.”

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James Richardson was seriously injured in an auto crash at 53rd Street and Western Avenue in Chicago, which resulted in a settlement for $1 million against Night Dream Inc. and Shaun T. Small. However, their Nevada-based insurer, Spirit Commercial Auto RRG Inc., was placed in liquidation before it funded the $1 million settlement amount. Because Spirit was a “risk retention group, (RRG),” Richardson couldn’t collect from the insurance guaranty funds in Nevada or Illinois.

He asked for a $1 million judgment against Dream and Small based on the portion of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, Section 2-2301, aimed at insurance companies that slow walk settlement payments.

Richardson requested the judgment more than 30 days after he submitted an executed release and all other documents required by Section 2-2301. Subsection (d) says: “A settling defendant shall pay all sums due to the plaintiff within 30 days of tender by the plaintiff of the executed release and all applicable documents in compliance with subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this Section.”

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The defendant attorney appealed from a Circuit Court order that reduced his contingent fee for legal representation in a motor-vehicle settlement case. The order had been entered in McDonough County, Ill. The plaintiff, the injured party, William K. Kelso, deceased, by his wife and executor, cross-appealed, arguing that the defendant attorney was, at most, entitled to quantum meruit recovery of his attorney fees.

Sharon Kelso, the plaintiff, and her late husband, William Kelso, were involved in a car crash in Arizona in February 2011. He died as a result of the accident, and his wife was seriously injured. The incident was the fault of the other driver, Shauna Nowicki. Nowicki was underinsured, with limits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. The Kelsos had their own insurance policy with $1 million underinsured coverage through Auto Owners Insurance.

On March 21, 2011, Sharon signed a contingency contract retaining the services of the defendant Richard Beuke for her claim. She signed a second, virtually identical, contract on April 13, 2011, as William’s wife, to recover for William’s injuries. Beuke was a friend of the Kelsos’ son. Both contracts stated that Sharon was retaining Beuke to prosecute a claim or cause of action against Nowicki and/or others responsible for the Kelsos’ injuries (and his death) in the crash. The contract stated that Beuke and his law firm were being retained to “prosecute a claim or cause of action against Shauna L. Nowicki and Daniel Raymond Porth, and/or other persons or entities responsible for the injuries sustained by” Sharon Kelso (in the first contract) and William Kelso (the second contract).

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The issue in this case was whether there was insurance coverage for South Shore Iron Works under the $1 million auto policy GD Carriers purchased from National Casualty Co. This involved the injuries suffered by Julio Delgado, a GD employee, who fell from a parked flatbed trailer owned by South Shore Iron Works.

Delgado hooked GD’s tractor to South Shore’s trailer while it was being loaded with steel beams. He was scheduled to transport the beams to a construction project in Rochelle, Ill.

The tractor was covered under National Casualty’s insurance policy. The incident occurred allegedly because of South Shore’s negligence in positioning the beams. Apparently the beams were not secured when Delgado climbed onto the trailer to secure the load.

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Brian Squire hit a bicycle rider while driving his car. The bicyclist died from injuries six months later.

GEICO, Squire’s automobile insurer, never offered the bicyclist or his estate Squire’s $300,000 policy limits or attempted to settle with the decedent’s estate and family.

In addition, the insurer, GEICO, allowed several settlement offers by the estate and family of the bicyclist to expire.

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The issue in this case was whether Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. was liable to pay the default judgment of $4.6 million against its insured whose policy limits for this incident was just $25,000. The question then became whether the insurer’s conduct proximately cause the $4.6 million judgment against the insured.

Kimberly Perkins was insured by Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. for auto liability up to $25,000. While her car was being driven by Miquasha Smith, a 16-year-old with a driver’s license permit, it crashed into two parked cars. Smith was convicted of reckless driving.

At the time of the crash, Monteil Hyland was a passenger in the Smith car and was seriously injured. Monteil’s mother, Shannon Hyland, filed suit against Smith. Smith had no auto insurance, but was covered by the car owner’s insurance, Liberty Mutual. In order to be covered, Smith had to have permission from Perkins. Smith claimed that she received the car keys from Perkins’s daughter, Michiah Risby.  She said she gave the keys to a person named “Rob” and not to Smith.

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Thomas Dempsey, 78, was driving his SUV on a busy four-lane highway during a cross-country trip. He exited the highway to use a restroom. His car approached a line of stopped cars, but he was unable to take his foot off the accelerator and swerved his SUV onto a grassy median, which led the SUV to accelerate and hit a deep drainage ditch.

In turn, Dempsey’s SUV became airborne and eventually landed on top of a truck driven by plaintiff Boris Woodard. The impact caused both the Dempsey SUV and the Woodard truck to cross two lanes of traffic and roll down an embankment.

Woodard suffered eye injuries and bruising. Much worse and tragic was the witnessing of the injury and subsequent death of Woodard’s 25-year-old daughter who was his passenger. Anna Woodard lapsed into a coma and was hospitalized for nine days after the crash before she died. She was a student who had hoped to work in childcare. She is survived by her parents. Her medical expenses were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Victoria Metal Processor Co. bought an insurance policy from Nautilus Insurance Co. to provide insurance coverage to Vivify Construction for accidents involving negligence by Victoria for a construction project in which Vivify was the general contractor.

Nautilus refused to cover a lawsuit filed by a Victoria Metal Processor employee, Pablo Vieyra, who fell from a second-story scaffold because of the alleged negligent supervision by Vivify.

There were two “injury to employee” exclusions in the body of the Nautilus Insurance policy that said it didn’t apply to tort claims by the employees of any subcontractors. Vivify appealed from a judgment that concluded that Nautilus Insurance was not obligated to defend Vivify, the general contractor.  It was argued on appeal that the trial court judge erred in choosing not to consider the terms of the subcontract between Vivify and Victoria.

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