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Personal Injury ClaimsView PDF

OLD LAW ENCOURAGES INSURANCE COMPANIES TO SETTLE REASONABLE CLAIMS: Our firm recently scored a victory for injured consumers. Using a little known and rarely used consumer statute, our firm increased a client's jury verdict by $15,000. While the insurance company fought the issue in court, the judge ruled in our client’s favor. We believe the decision of the judge will have a broad impact on how insurance companies pay and process claims. If you have ever had an insurance claim and waited far too long to receive compensation, you should hold onto this LawClips article.

WHAT HAPPENED? In 2000, our client was broadsided by another driver resulting in his truck being totaled. As a result of the collision, the frame on his pickup truck was actually bent. Our client was taken by ambulance and received treatment at a local hospital in Green Bay. He sustained a back injury that continued to require treatment over an extended period of time. Our client was in constant pain and the prospect of back surgery was looming.

A settlement demand letter was sent to the insurance company for the driver that caused the accident. The offer received from the insurance company was insulting. Continued attempts were made to try to settle the case. In our opinion, the insurance company made the decision to merely wait it out and see if our client would settle. He did not.

Surgery was performed on our client's back and his rehabilitation took months. The impact on his business and his family was dramatic. Still no reasonable offer to settle came from the insurance company.

Ultimately, our clients' case was presented to 12 citizens of Brown County. The jury awarded our client more than 3 times the offer of settlement that had been made by the insurance company. While the claim was pending, the insurance company was able to hold onto its money, while our client had to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for medical bills. While some would say that this is just how the legal system works, our firm researched and argued that in addition to compensatory damages (i.e. wage loss, pain and suffering), our client should be awarded pre verdict interest at the rate of 12%. The court agreed with the arguments presented by our firm and awarded 12% pre-verdict interest, dating back to 2001.

WHAT LAW? Our firm alleged that Wisconsin Statute sec. 628.46 requires that an insurance company pay a claim within 30 days of receiving sufficient information to value the claim. If the insurance company does not pay, it may be subject to having to pay 12% interest on the amount that was demanded. The interest begins to run 30 days after the initial settlement demand is made.

IS THE LAW GOOD: You bet. In many instances, an injured person, through no fault of their own, is forced to pay medical bills out of pocket and incur lost wages. It often takes years before a settlement is received. Many insurance companies are aware of this and choose to hold onto their money, hoping that the consumer will feel pressured to accept a less than reasonable settlement.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? If you have a claim against an insurance company, as a result of any type of accident (i.e. motor vehicle; slip and fall), call one of our personal injury attorneys:

Attorney Robert Janssen
Attorney Steve Hitzeman
Attorney Timothy Hawley

They will provide you with outstanding legal service and will seek to enforce the laws that have been enacted to protect consumer rights.

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