The latter event didn't happen to a bad faith insurance plaintiff from Virginia Beach. And hardly a high-stakes poker game, nonetheless, the plaintiff in the bad faith lawsuit simply wanted what, in her view and that of her insurance bad faith attorney, was fair and just.
As outlined in Virginia Lawyers Weekly (3/20/12), the plaintiff in the case accumulated in excess of $24,000 in medical bills resulting from her injuries in a car accident. Her insurance policy provided $10,000 in coverage, for which she applied. When her carrier repeatedly denied her requests, the policyholder contacted a bad faith insurance lawyer and promptly filed a lawsuit for breach of contract.
Her lawsuit included a claim for punitive damages under the bad faith statute currently observed in the state of Virginia.
According to the plaintiff's attorney, the bad faith insurance company responded to the lawsuit with an offer to pay all medical bills in exchange for a withdrawal of the punitive damages claim.
The company later upped the ante and offered to pay medical bills and $500 in attorney's fees.
To both offers, the plaintiff refused. In the end, Virginia Beach General District Judge Calvin R. DePew Jr. ruled in favor of the plaintiff and awarded her 100 percent of her outstanding medical bills, $1,500 in attorney's fees and $4,000 in punitive damages. The defendant did not contest the award.
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Advocates to fair play and practice in the insurance industry decry the existence of bad faith insurance, serving as it does, a mockery to the consistent payment of premiums on the part of policyholders over many years, only to come up against a brick wall when it comes time to collect.
While some insurance claimants do try to fleece their carriers, the majority of claimants are honest Americans with real needs. Understandably frustrated by a carrier's systematic denials to a justified claim, many will seek justice through a bad faith lawsuit.