Request Legal Help Now - Free


Jury Gives $12M Award in Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit

. By
Albuquerque, NMThe jury in a bad faith insurance lawsuit has given the family of a man injured in a car crash $12 million dollars, after finding that Progressive Insurance Co., practiced bad faith insurance.

According to the Albuquerque Journal (10/ 29/11), Martin Vigil was driving a truck on November 4, 2002, when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed. A man who was in the back seat of the vehicle died while Vigil suffered head injuries. At the time he was driving, he had a suspended license and had reportedly said he had been drinking, although criminal charges against Vigil were later dropped.

Progressive Insurance paid two $100,000 settlements in the case, but later said that Vigil's insurance policy lapsed at midnight on November 4, 90 minutes before the accident occurred. Progressive then sued Vigil for reimbursement of the two settlements. Initially, a judge found in favor of Progressive and the state Court of Appeals upheld the jury's verdict, but the question of coverage and allegations of bad faith insurance were remanded to District Court.

It was at this most recent trial, in District Court, that the jury heard evidence that Progressive altered its computer records 11 days after the crash, to make it appear that the Vigil family did not have insurance coverage. Furthermore, evidence was presented that a member of the Vigil family called Progressive twice before the accident to ensure the policy was valid; she was reportedly told over the phone there was no payment due until mid-November and the policy was fine. Finally, the jury heard that Progressive has a policy of recording all phone calls with clients, but calls regarding the Vigil family were never presented.

The jury awarded the Vigil family $11.7 million in punitive damages for bad faith insurance and a few hundred thousand in compensatory damages.

Insurance companies can face a bad faith insurance lawsuit if they unreasonably deny coverage or benefits, or if they unduly delay processing a claim.

In another recent bad faith insurance lawsuit, a plaintiff was awarded almost $800,000 in her lawsuit against Nationwide Insurance. The plaintiff, Norma O'Neal, lost her home in a fire two weeks before Christmas Day in 2009, according to The Chattanoogan (11/11/11). Despite evidence that an electrical event caused the fire, Nationwide denied O'Neal's claim, arguing the fire was intentionally set by a family member. The jury found in favor of O'Neal, awarding the amount she claimed for the house, contents and living expenses, and also awarding an additional 18 percent to penalize Nationwide.


Bad Faith Insurance Legal Help

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to an insurance lawyer who may evaluate your Bad Faith Insurance claim at no cost or obligation.


Posted by

I am in the appraisal process trying to get paid for a claim Nationwide denied last year. It is about a $60,000 claim. Evidence that this is a valid claim and should be paid is overwhelming. Nationwide has already paid thousands to defend the denial. The agent is very arrogant knowing Nationwide will never pay this. I hired a public adjuster that charges nothing up front but gets paid 25% of the claim if successful. My adjuster and Nationwide appointed an umpire who is supposed to be a neutral party but they usually side with the insurance company. I was not told I would have to pay for the umpire. The umpire came to my home months ago. I had to send an email to follow up on his decision. His response to my email was a bill for $2500 that I had to pay before he will release his decision to me. Even if he finds my claim to be valid Nationwide can and most likely will still not pay. I can then file a lawsuit which Nationwide will pay millions to defend. I know this claim will never be paid but may file the lawsuit so it will be public record.


Fields marked * are mandatory. Please read our comment guidelines before posting.


Note: Your name will be published with your comment.

*Email Address:

Your email will only be used if a response is needed.
*Your Comment:

Are you the defendant or a subject matter expert on this topic with an opposing viewpoint? We'd love to hear your comments here as well, or if you'd like to contact us for an interview please submit your details here.

Click to learn more about

Request Legal Help Now! - Free