Recent Cases & Insights
Bicycle Accident with Elderly Driver
This fifty-five-year-old married man was an avid bicyclist who road regularly with his wife and also stayed in good shape by exercising in the weight room of the local YMCA. Unfortunately, he encountered an elderly woman who did not appreciate the rules of the road or proper lookout. She turned in front of him as he was riding properly in the right lane, struck him, knocking him to the ground. His injuries required immediate treatment. He suffered a torn rotator cuff and the risk of future surgeries to his hip. Despite a stubborn defense, the insurer eventually offered $275,000 to settle the claim. The claim was handled by Greg Cook Law Office and Jeff Morgan Law.
Name of case kept confidential, case venue Ozaukee County.
Insurance Carriers Ignore Water Damage Claims
When water systems inside a home cause leaks, there is usually insurance coverage to compensate for the loss, based on the terms of the policy. Most losses must be sudden and accidental. In a Racine County case, the insured had purchased a water heater for his condominium at a local big box store. He also paid for installation. The big box contracted with an independent plumbing company to install. The plumber was careless, broke a pipe under pressure and then could not access the cut off valve. By the time the water was disconnected, over $100,000 in property damage had occurred. The insurance company for the plumber hired a company to remove the water and remediate the area before the reconstruction. Unfortunately, that company did a sub-par job and the insured had to find someone else. All the while his insurer, Liberty Mutual, virtually ignored the claim. The belated promises of the adjuster never came to fruition and the homeowner was forced to sue. Only then did the case get resolved. The insured recovered fully and has his attorney fees paid.
In another case in Waukesha County, a frozen water line under a fridge caused extensive damage. The commercial tenant had left the property; despite the terms of the lease, it had failed to keep the property heated. The insured landlord determined that it was not the fault of the tenant since the furnace had tripped out sometime after the tenant left and was unable to start. The coverage was clear. The landlord had done nothing wrong. But Erie Insurance denied the claim, alleging that the landlord had failed to maintain heat. When asked how the landlord could be at fault given the terms of the lease and the facts of the case, Erie’s claims adjuster testified that the landlord was at fault because he did not drive by the property regularly. Erie also tried to sue the commercial tenant. When the court dismissed the tenant and ordered the case for trial, Erie finally paid for the loss, plus enough to cover attorney fees and litigation costs.
Names of cases kept confidential at request of Insurers
Venue in Racine County and Waukesha County
Tornado Damage Minimized by Insurer Who Wrongfully Interfered with Insured’s Rights
Iron County had a F-3 storm in the summer of 2016, several homes and farms were badly damaged. Michael and Michelle Subert suffered significant damage to their home and business. Their insurer, American Family Modern Insurance Company [located out of state] hired an independent adjusting company to come and assess the damage. Despite waiting for months, nothing happened. Suberts were forced to try and do some of the repairs on their own and eventually moved from the property. When they contacted Greg Cook Law Office who reached out to their insurer, it stated that it had sent several letters to the Suberts along with a partial payment but heard nothing back. In fact, nothing had been received by the Suberts but one letter and no check. When the company declared it would send the payment to Subert’s lawyers, it took four weeks and a handwritten check before the payment was made. The company determined the loss to be $69,000. The Suberts disagreed. So did the local building inspector who issued a Raze Order. He had concluded that the cost to repair the property was more than 50% of its value. This did not deter the insurer, whose attorneys contacted the inspector ex-parte and intimidated him into withdrawing his order by alleging that he did not have the authority to issue a Raze Order. The inspector did so and tried to claim that the Suberts had tricked him. This was untrue but the court could do nothing since the order had been rescinded. When he was forced to testify the inspector said that while the house “fully qualified” to be torn down, he was told that he had no authority to issue an order. Suberts sued and hired an expert who rendered an opinion that the insurer had acted in bad faith. Two weeks before trial was scheduled in the summer of 2020, the insurer agreed to pay an additional $330,000 to settle all issues. After four long years, the Suberts were able to start putting their lives back together.
Subert v. American Family Modern Insurance Iron County
Progressive Significantly Increases its Offer to Settle Juvenile Scar Case
Progressive Insurance insured a woman whose granddaughter was injured as a passenger when grandmother slid off the road in a one car accident. The insured wanted the case settled, not only was the child related, she had a significant scar to her left arm and parts of her face. Progressive resisted. With the help of Greg Cook Law Offices and Jeff Morgan Law, the company eventually increased its initial offer by ten-fold. The case settled and the funds were set aside for the minor.
Name of case kept confidential, case venue Langlade County.
Trucking Accident Caused by Fatigued Driver who Maintained Two Driver Logs
Because of their size, semi-tractor trailer trucks can cause significant damage. In this case, that happened. Moreover, when the police arrived, the driver claimed he passed out at the wheel due to some strange illness. He was taken to the hospital for observation. Nothing was found wrong with him, he had no drugs in his system, he had no illness. While examining his truck the State Patrol officer for Wisconsin found two driver logbooks. He confronted the driver with them, which showed the driver had been operating his vehicle for the last 23 hours. The driver did not admit or deny the logbooks but alleged that he had not fallen asleep, rather he had passed out. Eventually that evidence, along with USDOT regulations, were enough to convince the trucking company’s insurer to settle after suit was commenced to avoid a claim for punitive damages.
Name of case kept confidential, case venue Milwaukee County.