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Bad-Faith Claims Against Insurance Companies in Georgia

Anyone who has had the misfortune of being involved in a serious Georgia car or truck accident may understand how difficult it is to work with insurance companies. In too many situations, an insurance company will deny coverage for medical treatment that has already been received, and was often provided in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Due to these concerns, Georgia lawmakers allow for bad-faith claims to be filed against insurance companies who delay, withhold, or deny a policy holder’s legitimate claims. A recent case illustrates how one car accident victim’s year-long fight for coverage turned into a viable bad-faith claim against an insurance company.

HospitalThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the passenger in her mother’s car when it was struck by another driver who ran a stop sign. After the accident, the plaintiff was taken to the hospital, where she was admitted to the emergency room. After being seen in the emergency room, she was then transferred to the level two trauma center. Four hours after she arrived at the hospital, she was discharged with a cervical collar. She did not receive a prescription for pain medication. After leaving the hospital, she continued to receive outpatient care for her injuries.

The driver who caused the accident did not have automobile insurance, so any claims for reimbursement of medical expenses were submitted through the underinsured/uninsured motorist provision of the mother’s insurance policy. Specifically, the plaintiff filed a claim for approximately $67,000, including approximately $24,000 from the treatment received in the trauma center.

The insurance company denied the $24,000, claiming that the plaintiff did not need to be treated by the trauma center. The plaintiff negotiated with the insurance company for over a year with no success before filing a bad-faith claim. After the claim was filed, the insurance company immediately offered the plaintiff $100,000 to settle the case without going to trial. The plaintiff rejected the offer. The insurance company retained two medical expert witnesses who claimed that the plaintiff did not need to be transferred to and treated by the trauma center.

The trial court that heard the claim granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the defendant was not acting in bad faith when it questioned the necessity of the medical treatment. However, the appellate court held that sufficient evidence was presented by the plaintiff to survive summary judgment, and a jury should be permitted to determine whether the insurance company acted in bad faith. The court explained that the fact that the insurance company refused to pay the contested costs for over a year, and then suddenly made an offer in excess of the requested amount may be an indication of bad faith.

Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any type of Georgia car or truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, you will invariably need to deal with at least one insurance company, which may contest your claims. The skilled injury attorneys at Miller Legal Services have decades of experience representing clients against big insurance companies, and know how to successfully negotiate for full and fair compensation. Call 770-284-3727 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Georgia Court of Appeals Holds Employer May Be Liable for Employee’s Drunk Driving Accident, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 22, 2017.

Georgia Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Premises Liability Case, Based on Plaintiff’s Inability to Prove Causation, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, March 6, 2017.