Posted on Nov 17, 2006By Rick Shapiro, HSCLA Attorney
Ted K. Fields and his lawyers brought a suit against Allstate for bad faith denial of his auto accident claim and a jury awarded Mr. Fields $20 million. The jury found that Allstate acted in bad faith against its customer. The case involves claims that Allstate had an actual policy that would give its policyholders a choice of accepting a poor settlement or facing a long drawnout legal battle. Allstate apparently is paying about 52 cents on the dollar received, as opposed to 70 cents on the dollar for most other insurance companies. It is saving millions at policy holder expense, but its executives are making the big bucks.
Fields was retired on disability from his job as a steel worker when he suffered spinal injuries after 1995 accident. The insurance company for the other driver was insolvent and under state law Allstate became responsible for Mr. Field's claim under the uninsured motorist coverage Fields paid for. Fields had about $7,000 in medical expenses and about $18,000 in lost wages. Amazingly, Allstate fought Mr. Fields for about 10 years. Mr. Fields described that Allstate turned his claim into World War III. Ultimately this $20 million verdict is the largest bad-faith verdict ever against an automobile insurer in the state of Indiana, where the case arose.
Allstate is like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: their marketing and advertising tells consumers that you are in good hands, but many lawyers that have automobile litigation against Allstate know that nothing is further from reality. Let's hope that Allstate learned a lesson! Allstate should pay the valid claims and move on, but it is choosing to contest EVEN the valid, meritorious claims and that is not good business. Our law firm will not hesitate to take on Allstate, or any other insurer that is unwilling to consider the evidence and facts that support a solid claim. Sometimes, the best medicine for an insurance company is a jury trial to finally determine that the insurance company is not being reasonable. Our law firm has a long track record of success in jury trials in multiple state and federal courts as outlined elsewhere.