GWC Injury Lawyers partner Joseph P. Sorce recently won a large arbitration decision for an injured pipefitter. What is especially notable about the decision is that the claim had already been denied by the insurance company. Fortunately, Mr. Sorce and GWC were able to turn his insurance denial into $3 million.
The worker was the victim of a major auto crash while on the job in early 2014. He suffered severe injuries to the spine, the left shoulder, and the left knee, and required extensive medical treatment, including two surgeries, at a cost of over $233,000.00 in all. Even worse, he lost his job because of his inability to perform the basic duties of a pipefitter, his trade of many years.
While the driver who injured him had insurance, its policy limits – the total amount his insurance company is obligated to pay – only added up to $25,000.00, far less than the injured worker’s medical bills and lost wages. To make up for the difference, he filed a claim against his employer’s underinsured motorist coverage – and was immediately and unjustly denied.
Underinsured motorist coverage allows an injured person to recover additional funds from the insurer of his vehicle when the medical bills or damages exceed the defendant’s policy limits. In this case, the underinsured motorist policy had limits of $1 million, none of which the insurance company claimed applied to the injured worker’s crash. In fact, the company even hired doctors to prove that his injuries were completely unrelated. That’s when he decided to take action and make them pay – by hiring GWC Injury Lawyers.
“He was referred to us by a former client, an ironworker who was very happy with the work we had done for him,” said Mr. Sorce. “When I looked at the denial, I couldn’t believe it. Our client was clearly entitled to tap into the underinsured motorist coverage. In fact, with his injuries, he was entitled to the full million.”
Mr. Sorce brought his client’s case to arbitration, where it would be assessed and decided by a three-person panel, including an arbitrator chosen by the insurance company itself. The panel decided unanimously in the client’s favor and awarded him $3 million – $2 million more than the underinsured policy limits! The excess award reflected the “bad faith conduct” of the insurance company, meaning that it behaved dishonestly by not fulfilling its contractual obligations and denying the client’s claim outright.
“Our client is very happy, and he said he’d give us a hearty recommendation to everyone he knows,” Mr. Sorce said. “That’s how we’ve built our business – by fighting for the client to the best of our ability.”
GWC prosecutes a wide variety of injury cases throughout Illinois, including those involving auto accidents, workers’ compensation, construction accidents, and medical malpractice. If you or your loved one has been injured, please contact our office for a free legal consultation to see if you may be eligible for financial compensation for your injuries.
Remember, you won’t pay anything until we make them pay you!