Recently, a North Carolina appellate court issued an opinion in a case involving a defendant who became a plaintiff who claimed that his insurance company failed to settle a case against him due to bad faith. The case raises the broader issue, prevalent in many Greensboro car accident cases, of an insurance firm’s duty to settle a case. It also raises the issue of what should happen when an insurance company commits an act of bad faith.
The Facts About the Case
The plaintiff in this case was a man’s estate who was killed when he caused a car accident that resulted in his own death and also in the injuries of several others. This case only somewhat involves the case against the plaintiff for causing the accident.
Several of the injured people filed an injury lawsuit against the estate of the man who created the accident, seeking money for their injuries. The attorney for these victims contacted the plaintiff’s insurance company, asking about settling the case.
The plaintiff’s insurance company, however, did not respond to the attorney’s question. After 30 days, the victims took away their offer of settlement. Then the insurance company’s lawyer contacted the victim’s lawyer, explaining that he had lost the letter outlining the settlement offer. The insurance company then made an offer of $50,000 to settle the entire case. The victims rejected the settlement offer, and the case went eventually to trial.
At trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the accident victim(s) over and above $5 million. The plaintiff in this case filed a lawsuit against his own insurance company, claiming that the insurance company declined to settle the case in bad faith, causing in what was a significant and avoidable jury loss.
The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims, and the estate appealed. On appeal, the case was reversed in the appelant’s favor. The court explained that insurance companies have to act in good faith when considering claims within the policy limits of an insurance policy. Here, the court noted, the lawyer for the insurance company might have been at fault in failing to respond to the victims’ offer. Since this presents an issue of fact, the court found that a jury needs to determine whether the company providing the insurance acted in bad faith. Therefore, the plaintiff’s case against the insurance company was allowed to proceed to trial.
Have You Been Injured in a Greensboro Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Greensboro Car Accident you may be entitled to some compensation. It is likely that you will need to deal with at least one insurance company in the process. The career-dedicated personal injury attorneys at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth, & Olson have extensive experience assisting car crash and other victims and their families by pursuing the compensation they deserve.
Contact our Greensboro Car Accident Lawyers today if you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident in Greensboro, High Point or Asheboro.