Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Claim of Bad Faith Delay in UIM Tender Dismissed in Monroe County

In the case of Sabajo v. Allstate Fire and Cas. Ins. Co., No. 7703-CV-2019 (C.P. Monroe Co. June 22, 2021 Williamson, J.), the court granted the carrier’s Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed the Plaintiff’s bad faith claim.

According to the Opinion, this case arose out of a motor vehicle accident matter.

The Plaintiff was pursuing a UIM and bad faith claim against the carrier. After the UIM claim was resolved, the Plaintiff continued with the bad faith claim under primary allegations of an unreasonable delay in the tendering of the UIM policy limits for almost a year. The Plaintiffs asserted that the carrier new, or recklessly disregarded that it allegedly lacked a reasonable basis to delay the payment.

After reviewing the record before him, Judge Williamson ruled that, based upon the medical records provided, which included information regarding treatment for pre-existing injuries, it was reasonable for the carrier to request discovery, medical lien amounts, and to eventually subpoena additional medical records to be certain of what was being claimed before the carrier made a settlement offer. The court noted that the record was consistent with the deposition testimony of the Allstate claims representative during which the representative indicated that it was only after the receipt of the additional information requested that he could finalize this evaluation and offer the policy limits.

In so ruling, the court noted that the claims representative’s request for additional information, including medical lien information, was “standard.” See Op. at 6. The court noted that, once the information was received, primarily by the beginning of 2020, the policy limits were tendered in March of 2020.

The court noted that, while the Plaintiffs made a claim for benefits in April of 2019, and eventually filed suit in September of 2019, the court could not say that this represented an unreasonable delay by Allstate in tendering the limits under the facts presented. Rather, the court found that the “steps taken [by the carrier] were prudent under the circumstances.” See Op. at 6. The court noted that, as soon as the confirmation of the diagnoses and causation was made, the carrier tendered the policy limits. As such, the court found that there is no unreasonable delay. This compelled the court to grant the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the carrier.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source of image: Photo by Karim Manjra on Unsplash.

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