Affirmative defense on insurer's settlement offer nets plaintiff with catastrophic injuries just $15,000 policy limits. Plaintiff claimed that defendant insurer had "opened up" its policy.
Bisnar Chase by H. Gavin Long, Newport Beach.
Demler, Armstrong & Rowland, LLP by James P. Lemieux and David A. Ring, Long Beach.
Timothy Walker, Esq., insurance, Long Beach.
Sherman M. Spitz, insurance, Irvine.
Sherman M. Spitz, Esq., insurance, Irvine.
Defendant Celia Scott, while driving at night, struck pedestrian Maria Carachure, causing catastrophic injuries. Plaintiff sued for personal injuries and her attorneys sent a written settlement demand for her $15,000 insurance policy limits, but when defendant’s insurer, Safeco, accepted the demand, plaintiff’s then-counsel claimed that the terms had not been complied with and that the insurance policy was open. Plaintiff then filed suit for bodily injuries, contending the full value of the claim was $30 million.
That defendant's insurer failed to properly accept a $15,000 policy limit demand before the lawsuit was filed; contended that plaintiff was incapacitated and there was no guardian ad litem appointed when the defense claimed the case previously settled; further, that there was no consent by plaintiff to settle.
Defendant relied upon the policy limits settlement as a complete defense to plaintiffs’ claims.
Severe bodily injury (quasi-vegetative state).