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Written by AMLO.

Insurance bad faith - turns $6,800 insurance claim into $93,000 settlement

Senad Becirovic v. Progressive Northern Insurance Company

Jefferson County, KY (2004)

Senad Becirovic was Bosnian immigrant, living in Louisville, who was injured in a car wreck in 2001. He was hurled forward and struck the windshield, cracking the glass with his head.

Senad worked with the Swift Meat Packing plant and stood on his feet all day doing manual labor, cutting meat. Because of injuries, his chiropractor and his pain management physician advised him not to return to work and continue physical therapy and chiropractic treatments for a period of four (4) months.

His PIP insurance carrier had something else in mind. Within an hour and a half of learning that he was injured, they decided to send Senad to a doctor they chose (instead of his treating doctors) for evaluation. Their choice was Dr. James Harkess. Dr. Harkess examined Senad and found that he had just been "tossed around" in a car and should go back to work immediately. Thus, Progressive stopped paying the ongoing PIP medical bills and the PIP lost wages.

Mehr Fairbanks Trial Lawyers took the case, even though it only involved $6,800. Progressive strongly defended the case with one of the largest firms in Kentucky. MFTL took the case to trial and won a jury verdict for the full amount of $6,800. More importantly, MFTL won a finding by the jury verdict that the denial of Senad's work loss and medical bills by Progressive Insurance Company was "without reasonable foundation." This entitled Senad to also recover his attorney's fees.

Right after the jury verdict MFTL won another important decision in the Court of Appeals, which changed the law regarding Bad Faith. Previously the Court of Appeals had ruled there was no Bad Faith cause of action when it related to a PIP claim, like Senad's. However, MFTL reversed that law in the case of Mitchum v. GEICO (A link to that) which decision was rendered on September 17, 2004. When Progressive realized that Mehr Fairbanks Trial Lawyers' other case had changed the law regarding bad faith. They immediately offered to settle and an agreement was reached for a settlement of $93,000.