A House of Commons select committee “identified the principal cause as ‘a rapid growth in the number of personal injury claims management firms, which are using direct cold-call marketing techniques to encourage people to make claims who otherwise would not have done so’”. [Philip Johnston, Telegraph]
“The tree trunks, exposed banks and other hazards whizzing past represent a cornucopia of potential tort suits under U.S. law, yet somehow the Swiss manage to operate these runs without being sued into oblivion.” Dan Fisher at Forbes has a go at explaining why. More: Bill Childs, TortsProf (many U.S. states relatively protective of winter sports providers).
“Connecticut’s second-highest court ruled Monday that a man facing charges of arson of his East Lyme beach house can sue the home’s insurer for emotional distress because of the way the insurer investigated the fire.” [Hartford Courant]
In 2007, on Highway 101 north of Ventura, Jeremy White plowed his pickup truck into a vehicle parked along the roadside, killing its driver and paralyzing a California highway patrolman who was standing alongside. White “pleaded guilty in September 2008 to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and selling and transporting marijuana. He was sentenced to 15 years.” While he had an insurance policy, its limit was a paltry $15,000. So which deep pockets will be left responsible for paying the nearly $50 million a jury has awarded in damages? The answer, apparently: 1) White’s insurance company, despite the policy limit, due to the magic of “insurance bad faith” law; 2) Bert’s Mega Mall in Covina, whose employees, according to the plaintiffs in the case, “didn’t properly strap down two dirt bikes in the back of White’s truck, which caused a distraction and contributed to the crash.”
After the trial ended Tuesday, the mall’s lawyer, Terrence Cranert, said they would appeal.
He said there was significant evidence the jury didn’t receive, including a statement from White’s passenger who told the CHP that he and White had stopped to smoke marijuana after leaving the mall. Cranert said they weren’t able to find White’s passenger for the trial, but felt the information should have been allowed.
The judge, however, disagreed.
White’s passenger also told the CHP that he and White went into the back of the truck and opened a tool box to get the marijuana, according to Cranert. “They would have to unstrap the motorcycles,” Cranert said.
[Ventura County Star reporting, liability and damages phases]
We know some consumer reporters can be easy marks for overhyped scare stories. But what excuse does a giant insurance company has for trying to knock spare change out of an automaker by endorsing the scare theories in a subrogation suit? [Mary Anne Medina, Claims Magazine] See also: Laura Zois, Maryland Accident Lawyer.
Coverage that exceeds expectations? “A Nassau County judge has ruled that MetLife must pay as much as $300,000 for Jacqueline Marshall to defend herself against a negligence lawsuit filed because her mentally ill son, Evan Marshall, then 31, decapitated and dismembered her neighbor.” [NY Post]
So puzzling and inexplicable that health insurance rates keep rising. [NYT]
A lawsuit over a hot coffee mishap in the fast-food drive-through lane turns out to be barred by California’s financial responsibility law, which “prohibits uninsured motorists … from collecting noneconomic damages in any action arising out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle.” [Pat Murphy, Lawyers USA "Benchmarks"]
State Farm asks a family to pay for the bumper damage after its dog is run over [AFP, Ontario]
The firm often sues insurance companies for amounts under $50, sometimes under $5. A manager with one defendant said the lawyers can use a $1 settlement to leverage a demand for thousands in legal fees payable by defendants. The firm, which has filed more than a thousand cases since last summer, acquires potential claims from medical clinics which bill the insurers over care dispensed after no-fault auto accidents; often the clinics have been paid for the bulk of the case, leaving a small unpaid sum. [Jane Musgrave, Palm Beach Post]
Says it didn’t properly advise him beforehand that he needed to buy lots of coverage. [ContactMusic.com]