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Bad Faith After Cashing Arbitration Award Check
I was awarded $38,000 in an um/undersinsured arbitration proceeding. After paying for my attorney, attorney expenses, other items, etc.; I ended up with around $20,000.
This was an accident where I was a passenger and my wife was the driver. I had just been released as a post-surgical patient (7th spinal cord surgery). As I was leaving the hospital grounds after being discharged from the surgery and two day hospital stay the police were pursuing a felon in a stolen vehicle.
The felon ended up hitting us, injuring myself and slightly hurting my wife. My insurance company um/uim clause kicked in because the felon was driving a stolen car and did not have an insurance policy.
My insurance policy paid up to the $2000 medpay limit of my 3500.00 in medical bills resulting from me having to be brought back to the hospital for treatment. That got my angry that they didn't pay the whole bill. Further, my neuro-surgeon stated that the accident harmed his surgery on me. So I hired an attorney.
My insurance company was relentless and never made much of a settlement offer. So after a couple of years of waiting I opted, at my attorney's explanation of choices, to take it to arbitration.
The check came into my attorney's office, but now he is thinking I may have a bad faith suit against them. Along with the check and explanation of expenses the insurance company only sent a brief letter addressed to my attorney that says this "resolves" our case.
There was nothing in writing for me to sign that stated I would waive any further litigation and not pursue any other matter related to this horrible accident. My attorney is worried if the check is deposited and disbursed that will ruin any chance of a bad faith case against my insurance company.
Number one, just getting to this point has taken almost three years. I know that if I do have to try and dispute the arbitration amount and file an addendum case of bad faith that it could take another two or three years. I am disabled, my wife does work, and we have four kids and two grandchildren living with us.
The $20,000 will certainly help and this bad faith thing is not guaranteed. Sorry this is so long. But, I needed to fully explain it. I need an objective point of view. I know you ask for donations, but I am really pretty broke right not. I will try and send you a donation in a few weeks.
Finally, please do not think I do not trust my attorney. He is very talented. I just need some objectivity.
As you noted, you have a lawyer that is the only person that can help you. She knows your case better than anyone and has best knowledge about the local regulations that apply to North Carolina cases.
A bad faith claim is a different claim than an injury case. A bad faith case is more or less a claim where there is a breach of the contract or a breach of a fiduciary duty. This is a hard thing to prove but it is possible.
Here is a good article about what insurance companies are supposed and not supposed to do.
Again, your lawyer is the only person that can give you a correct answer on bad faith.
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