What a tangled web in DUI case
The twists and turns of a Wetzel County, West Virginia, DUI suit are instructive about the way personal injury cases can be exacerbated by the practices of insurance companies. When Prudential issued an auto insurance policy to Robert Gaiser, the man had already been arrested five times for driving under the influence. The company had to be prepared for the inevitable, which occurred in 2003 when Gaiser, driving around with a half-gallon bottle of vodka, crossed the centerline of a rural highway and struck a pickup head-on, killing the driver, 53-year-old Charles Clegg.
However, when this occurred, Prudential used its usual tactics of deny, delay, defend, and waited three months before approaching Clegg’s family with a settlement in the automobile accident case for $50,000, technically the liability limit of Gaiser’s policy. By that time, the family had been hurt by mounting bills and severely felt the loss, so they turned down the offer, and brought two lawsuits. First, they sued Prudential and its new owner Liberty Mutual for bad faith insurance practices. Second, they sued Gaiser for damages over the wrongful death, since they cannot sue the insurance companies directly for damages. While the first suit is still pending, the second suit was found in favor of Clegg’s family for a settlement of $8.3 million.
Since Gaiser cannot pay the $8.3 million, he must file suit to sue his own insurance company for the money. He will charge that the insurance company’s failure to act exposed him to this liability. Once he files the suit, however, he will assign the claim to the Clegg family, allowing them to prosecute the case and reap the award, which could be up to the full amount of the jury award, and with the bad faith insurance practices trial still pending, the Clegg family could easily receive more than the jury award.
If you have been victimized by bad faith insurance practices, whether as a policy-holder or as someone injured by a policyholder then insulted by their insurance company, contact PersonalInjury.com today to get in touch with a bad-faith insurance attorney in your area.