Insurance Claims Against State Farm – Why I Would Have Refused This Case

My readers and viewers know that I write a lot about insurance companies and how difficult they can be to work with. I have my own take on things and often my assessment of major insurers isn’t pretty. State Farm Insurance is clearly no exception to this rule. Having said that, every now and then a case comes along where I agree with the insurer. This is the case with Joseph v. State Farm, an opinion issued by an Ohio U.S. District Judge a few days ago.

Before getting into the real issues of this case, I need to do a quick summary of background facts. On March 5, 2009 plaintiff purchased a homeowner’s insurance policy through a local Start Farm agent. The policy was effective the next day and was later extended through March 6, 2011. On August 18, 2010 the insured home was destroyed in a fire. Plaintiff filed a claim with State Farm for the loss. State Farm’s investigation revealed that the fire was the result of arson and that an accelerant had been used in the basement.

During the investigation, the homeowner made inconsistent statements and had checked into a local hotel the night before the fire. State Farm also learned that the plaintiff was not the homeowner when the policy was purchased, that the plaintiff had sustained previous property losses in arson cases, and that Nationwide Insurance had previously cancelled a homeowner’s policy on the same residence. It was also revealed that plaintiff owned $391,000 in back taxes. Throughout the investigation and claims process, plaintiff refused to provide personal financial information to State Farm.

At this point it’s pretty clear that even if the plaintiff is not guilty of arson, there were some legitimate questions about the incident and possible motivations for the fire. From a reasonable person’s point of view, State Farm was justified in conducting an investigation and requesting financial information from the insured.

June 7, 2011 State Farm denied plaintiff’s claim and voided his policy citing the intentional acts, concealment, and fraud clauses of the insurance contract. Plaintiff filed a lawsuit (http://www.leagle.com/xmlresult.aspx?xmldoc=In%20FDCO%2020130222H08.xml&docbase=CsLwAr3-2007-Curr) against State Farm on August 9, 2011. Plaintiff’s action asserted breach of contract and bad faith.

In response, State Farm filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and claimed that it was entitled to deny the claim for a number of reasons. First, the company argued that because the plaintiff was not forthcoming during the investigation, the cooperation clause allows State Farm to deny the claim. Cooperation clauses are standard in insurance contracts because they protect insurers from fraudulent claims. State Farm claimed that cooperation is a condition of the policy and because the insured failed to comply, the insurer is relieved of the obligation on the claim. Plaintiff does not dispute that he was uncooperative during the investigation; rather, he argues that the documents State Farm requested were not relevant to the investigation. The court found that when an insurance company raises arson as an affirmative defense to liability, there are strong public policy reasons for requiring disclosure of the insured’s financial status as a possible motive. The court ruled for State Farm on this issue and held that the company was entitled to cancel the policy and deny the claim.

The court also ruled that the insurance policy was void due to the plaintiff’s misrepresentations of ownership. Finally, the court held against plaintiff on the bad faith claim. The court reasoned that because State Farm’s refusal to pay was legally correct under the terms of the policy, the company’s refusal to pay was reasonable and justified. Summary judgment was granted to State Farm.

I think the court and State Farm were correct under these facts. This plaintiff had a history of property damage due to arson, had massive unpaid taxes, and an accelerent was used at the home while he stayed in a hotel. In my opinion, these facts absolutely warrant State Farm’s non-payment.

I find myself usually siding with the plaintiff in claims against State Farm. But not in this case. Although I would never represent State Farm and in fact only bring personal injury claims against State Farm part of being a counselor at Law is recognizing valid winnable claims. After 31 years I think I have a pretty good idea of when you have a valid auto accident injury claim.

If you have a claim against State Farm or any other insurance claim call me at 513-621-2345 or get a free no obligation consultation here.

Rear End Collisions Car Crashes Do I Have a Case part 1

 

Rear End Crash

As a Cincinnati car accident lawyer I have handed hundreds of rear end car  collision lawsuit claims. These are not always no brainers and the public does not always understand when they are at fault. What follows is a brief explanation of Ohio law on rear end collisions.

At it’s simplest a rear end collision is defined as one motor vehicle striking another automobile in the rear with it’s front. Either a car has stopped for traffic, a stop light or a stop sign or something in the road and the car coming up from behind did not stop and a car accident occurred , with or without injury

 

 

The Ohio Law on Rear End Collisions

 

The law on rear end collisions comes from the statute R.C. 4511.21 As explained by many court cases:

Violation of the statute ( 4511.21) and a finding of negligence as a matter of law depends on whether there was evidence that the driver collided with an object which (1) was ahead of him in his lane of travel (2) was stationary or moving in the same direction as that of the driver, 93) did not suddenly appear in the driver’s path and (4) was reasonably discernable.

An Actual Court Case Can Be Helpful to See Ohio Rear End Crash Law

In Jung v Brothers the facts were as follows: Mr Junge was driving his car at night at a lawful speed and struck an overturned tractor truck . The tractor – trailer had lost control and flipped on its side. The dark underside of the truck was facing traffic. the lights of the truck were of and there were no lights in the vicinity.

The Court said that it was a question for the jury to decide whether the truck was reasonably discernible and therefore whether Mr Jung was at fault for violating the assured clear distance statute. And if he was whether he was more at fault than the truck driver for loosing control of his truck.

Under Ohio law if the person bringing the lawsuit is 51% at fault they recover nothing. but if they are 50% or less they get to recover their proportionate share of damages. There is a lot more to the assured clear distance statute and we will cover that in part 2 of this series.

Anthony Castelli attorney is a Cincinnati car accident lawyer that handles car accident serious injury lawsuits and settlements for over thirty years. He offers free case consultations and you can Call him at 513-621-2345 to speak with him. He welcomes your call.

 

Allstate Tries to Keep Car Accident Victims Away From Lawyers – For Money

Allstate makes a concerted effort to keep car accident injury victims away from lawyers. They do this for the simple reason that it saves them money. They state in their own documents that generally that will pay more if a motor vehicle victim is represented. Sometimes three times as much.

How Does Allstate Keep You From a Lawyer – No They Do Not Break Your Arm

Allstate brought in a concern called the Mckenzie group and they actually created a script and did role playing on how to teach Allstate adjusters to keep car accident victims injured by negligence of others away. With mounting public pressure Allstate released these documents on their site but then took them down.   Here Are the Secret Allstate Documents

As you can see the documents are so faint that they are barely legible . However I have copies of these documents and they are available on demand. In fact I wrote a chapter in a book called  Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing  which by clicking on the link you can download the book for free.

The Chapter I wrote was called, When your friend becomes your enemy, and lays out  the tactics Allstate will use to keep you unrepresented , in the dark, and ultimately forced to take a low ball offer. Don’t do it.

CALL ME,  ANTHONY CASTELLI today at 513-621-2345 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catastrophic Brain Injury From Car Accidents

As a Cincinnati car accident lawyer I see many types of injuries from car accidents. Severe traumatic brain injury is one of the most serious. It is a major medical and economic problem that is a leading cause of death in children and young adults. The current critical care management guidance is in “Guidelines for the Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury.”

The objectives are : prevention of intracranial hypertension, preservation of cerebral perfusion and optimization of oxygenation. Time is of the essence and early response is always essential. The most immediate thing you can do in a car crash is call 911 for help. The term golden hour is used to get the brain injured person managed medicallyas soon as possible.

Definition of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Severe traumatic brain injury defined as head trauma associated with a Glascgow Coma  scale (GCS) score of 3-8 is a challenging problem in critical care medicine. TBI is divided into two discrete periods primary and secondary. Primary is the physical damage to the brain during the traumatic event, that causes shearing and compression of the brain tissue. Secondary brain injury is a complicated process that can include edema, hematomas, hypertension, vasospasm among others. These brain insults are mostly due to lack of blood flow and oxygen.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

In the U.S., an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year.

Leading causes include falls, traffic accidents, assault, and being struck by or against an object — such as another person, a wall, or a falling object. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there are:

  • 595,095 fall-related TBIs
  • 292,202 motor vehicle/traffic related TBIs
  • 279,882 struck by/against events
  • 169,625 assault-related TBIs
  • 199,447 unknown causes
  • 155,255 injuries classified as “other “

 

Traumatic Brain injury Causes

Acute Treatment For Severe Head Injury

There are a multitude of management techniques depending on the type of injury and the reaction of the body systems. Some of  these are;

Intracranial pressure monitoring

Brain tissue Oxygen tension

Cerebral Microdialysis

Electrophysiological monitoring

Transcranial doppler Ultrsonography

Brain Temperature

Mechanical Ventilation

Nutritional support

Decompressive Craniectomy and Hemicraniectomy

This list is by no means exhaustive and is merely to show the lay person that this is a complicated process that can save lives and limit the residual effects of severe brain injury.

Predicting Outcome After TBI

A few predictive outcome models have been proposed that include age, motor score, pupillary reactivity, hypoxia, hypotension, CT classification and subarachniod hemorrage. Ask the doctor in charge of your loved one’s brain injury about these predictors. Usually once the injury victim is able to speak and comprehend a meuropsychological assessment will be performed that can inform the rehabilitation efforts in terms of cognitive functions.

Legal Help For Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Caused by Car Accidents or Other Negligence

The legal  preparation for presentation of a severe traumatic brain injury entails a complete documentation of all the injuries and there are multiple experts that usually need to be consulted . Insurance adjusters will often minimize the residual affects of a brain injury and attempt to blame mood disorder, loss of focus, and other problems that affect the quality and financial future of one severely brain damaged on preexisting problems. . While it is wonderful to see a comatose patient move from coma to awareness, from inability to walk to the ability to walk without restriction, this does not mean there has been  a restoration to full function by any means. You should  want nothing less than complete compensation for your injury and a lawyer that knows how to portray your injury and is dedicated and capable of getting you what you deserve.

by Anthony Castellli  Attorney

Call Anthony today for legal help for your auto accident brain or other injury at 621-2345 . Get a free case evaluation. Anthony has over 30 years experience with clients with severe car accident injuries.

Resource: Critical Care Management of Severe Traumatic brain injury in adults by Haddad and ArabiScand Journal of Trauma feb 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Injured in a Car Accident – Get The Free Ebook – Insurance Company Settlement Secrets and Traps Revealed

Unrepresented auto accidents injury victims do not know what to do to get a fair settlement for the most part. Some think they know. But how do they really know. You can get some basic infromation on the internet. But much of it is general. Each motor vehicle crash sufferrer has a case that is unique. Hundreds of facts may go into the settlement. Some blindly listen to the insurance adjustor tell them not to get a counselor at law.  Why. So they can lead you by the nose and pay you as little as possible.

At least arm yourself with some knowledge to determine if you need to hire an injury lawyer. And if you determine you need to,  learn how to avoid the quick settlement mill attorneys. 15 lawyers from across the country banded together to discuss issus surrounding bodily injury claims. The Amazon best selling book they created  in the insurance category was Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing – What you  insurance company does not want You to know and will not tell you until it is too late.

I have created for you a short video that allows you to download this book in the form of a PDF for free. So before you commit to talking with the liability adjsustor and doing something that could ruin the value of what you clearly deserve in compensation for another’s negligence do this. Watch this 60 second video then download this book and learn inside secrets and the ways to avoid traps and missteps.

 

 

 

By Anthony Castelli Attorney for car accidents  in Cincinnati

Reource: Amazon books Anthony Castelli page

How Can I Get The Most Money For My Personal Injury Settlement According to Allstate

How do I get the most money for my car accident injury settlement is a question you see often on the internet.  If you ask me as a Cincinnati car injury lawyer you will get one of two answers.  Settle it yourself or hire the best personal injury attorney you can find with a track record for successful results.

But you may think I’m jaded with a vested interest since I want you to hire me. If you have a serious injury I would be honored to represent you. But on the smaller cases I turn down, I tell people they may do just as well without a lawyer.

 

In terms of what car accident injury victims should do as to hiring a auto accident attorney lets see what the insurance industry giant Allstate says. They commisioned a company to help them save money. They focused on keeping injury victims away from lawyers. This is what the actual  Allstate document said

 

READ THE COPY OF DOCUMENT C000011364

  Exhibit Discussions Guide (con)

Exhibit 4;  BI Soft Tissue Cases $1500-$15,000

Stress the importance of the unrepresented segment

We end up paying claimants up to three times as much as unrepresented claimants with similar injuries.

Point out the tremendous opportunity associated with reducing the need for attorney involvement

…………………………………………………………………………

It’s no secret too many that big insurance makes profits my taking in premiums and paying out as little as possible.  So you decide , not based upon what I say but based on Allstate ‘s own documents,  if  chances are you will come out with more money in your pocket if you hire a lawyer. Sure there are no guarantees , but remember this is what Allstate has said.

Watch this video to get even more information  from me, a  Cincinnati car accident personal injury lawyer offering a free ebook download car accident settlement calculator

http://youtu.be/R8g8Kovun_0

 

http://www.personalinjury-ohio.com/

 

Anthony Castelli attorney

Anthony Castelli cincinnati car accident attorney

 

 

 

When Do You Address a Car Accident or Other Injury Settlement

 

You’ve met your client, executed your fee agreement, gathered your facts and put your file together. When is it time to consider settlement?  You get a very lawyered up answer on this: It depends on the case.  But here are some thoughts for personal injury lawyers as to when settlement should be broached.

 

First and foremost, check the statute of limitations.  Unless it is at least six months away, file your complaint.  Don’t wait assuming you will settle.  I could argue that you want to file even more quickly whenever practicable.  You really do want to avoid sitting up on the statute of limitations.  Literally hundreds of legal malpractice lawsuits have resulted from personal injury lawyers who have thought the case was “sure to settle” only to get hit over the head with an expiring statute of limitations or a failure to gather all of the right defendants in time.

 

You can always serve the defendant, send a copy to the claims representative with whom you’ve been dealing, and agree to take no further action during a fixed time period, during which it is understood that settlement negotiations will be addressed.  Also be sure early on, when opening your file, whether there are any statutory notice provisions with which you must comply pre-suit.  Claims against state and local governments typically have provisions such as these, which require specific notice to be given to designated officials.  The time limits for providing notice are usually much shorter than the statutory limitations period for the cause of action, and providing notice is generally a prerequisite to being able to file a lawsuit.  Miss one of these and the next thing you will get is a motion to dismiss, followed shortly by a bar complaint, a claim for legal malpractice, or both.

 

If you do not have an impending limitations problem, you may wish to approach settlement as shortly after the date of the accident as possible, usually within the first year and well before filing your complaint, if:

 

•             The facts situation is clear

•             You have identified the defendant

•             Damages are modest; and

•             Liability is clear, whether or not it is in your favor.

 

In every case where limitations is not an issue, settlement discussions should not begin until your injured client has reached maximum medical improvement.  What is maximum medical improvement?  It is the point in time when your client’s injuries are completely healed, or he has reached the maximum benefit medical treatment will provide and his injuries have become permanent.  Generally, I advise not approaching settlement discussions until the client has been at maximum medical improvement for at least ninety days.  This allays fears that follow-up treatment will be needed for any remaining residual complaints, or that the client has merely plateaued and will heal further with the passage of time.  Also, in the event of a permanent injury, you will need some time after the completion of medical treatment to secure documentation of the permanent nature of the client’s injuries.  Moreover, if those injuries will affect the client’s ability to work or to earn an amount comparable to his pre-injury wages, you will need time to secure additional documentation of those damages, such as a vocational assessment, or a report from an economist.  Make sure you don’t fail to seek recoverable damages in a premature rush to the settlement table.

 

One more important lesson worth keeping in mind.  I remember as a young lawyer thinking it was a sign of weakness to seek out settlement.  I defended a case once where the plaintiff’s lawyer was begging the defendant’s to settle from the very beginning.  While begging, he worked up his case right, put on a great four month trial, and got a $2 million verdict against us.   When I asked him about it, he said I want to settle every case up until the time the high court affirms my verdict.   My take home message from this is not to be afraid to seek settlement as long as you are doing all of the right things to get ready to try your case.

 

Ronald V. Miller, Jr. is a personal injury lawyer .  You can learn more about Ron and his law firm here.

 

Ronald V. Miller, Jr.

Miller & Zois

 

www.millerandzois.com

This  post is offered as a public service by Anthony Castelli Attorney focusing on Ohio injury accident law. I want to thank Ron Miller Esq. for taking time  from his busy practice to write this helpful article for attorneys as well as accident and injury victims.

 

I Need a Cincinnati Ohio Car Accident Attorney – What Should I look For?

In searching for an Ohio car accident attorney there are certain qualities and skills that I would look for.  But it really comes done to a couple of things:

1. Is the Lawyer Experienced and Driven To Get Results.

 

2. Will the Lawyer communicate with me and Explain what’s Going on and answer any questions I have.

These are the benefits I am looking for when I have had to hire a lawyer. You see just because I’m a lawyer does not mean I can handle everything that gets thrown at me. One time I had a property issue with the title to to land. I found the most knowledgeable lawyer in that area and was very satisfied. Another time I had to find a elder law lawyer for my Dad and I got someone that came highly recommended. He turned out to be very inadequate. He was disorganized and aloof. So I fired him.

 

Even if I, a car accident lawyer,  had a serious car accident injury I probably would still hire a lawyer if litigation was necessary, as the emotional toll and the actual inability to adequately represent myself properly would be well worth the % of the settlement I would pay my lawyer.

 

Sure its good to get recommendations from other you trust, but if your friend that had a divorce says call my divorce lawyer, they really did a great job on my divorce, that may not be a great referral. Divorce and personal injury law are entirely different. I would not try in my wildest dreams to handle your divorce . But some lawyers , that likely never even tried a personal injury case and do very few of them might try to handle your car accident case. Why, for the money they think they will make. They think they can sit in there office and handle a personal injury car accident claim.

 

So its extremely important to see if your attorney has a track record of results. Many lawyers will put some of their results up on their web site. Just remember each case is different and when you look at some of my results that does not mean I can get the same results for you. But it does tell you that I have a track record of some significant successes.

 

Does your attorney have the resources in staff and money to prosecute your claim. Otherwise you will be asked for money to prosecute your case. Money you do not have. Recently I finished a wrongful death loss where I advanced close to $70,000.00. The saying it takes money to make money is very true in the world of major injury and death claims. Even in the smaller claims there still are expenses.

 

Maybe one of the best areas to investigate your choice of a car accident lawyer is, “What do the car accident personal injury lawyer’s clients say about them.” Satisfied clients are a good indicator of  who the attorney is, how he communicates, whether he really cares and whether he can deliver a satisfying just result. I have numerous written injury client testimonials on my home web site Anthony Castelli Accident and Injury Lawyer .

 

In fact I have a few video accident and injury testimonials from my clients in the video just below. Please take a look and listen.

 

 

I welcome your call to discuss your case at no charge or obligation. Get my help today call 513-621-2345

 

 

Car Accident Victims Risk Much By Handling Their Own Serious Injury Claim

Anthony Castelli Car accident attorney

As a Cincinnati car accident attorney for over thirty years I’ve heard stories about people trying to settle their car accident injury claim without a lawyer. I see two reasons this attempt is made: 1) some injury victims think they can out smart the insurance company and get more money in their own pocket without paying a lawyer and 2) the insurance company itself  tells the injury victim that they will be fair with them and attorneys will take a fee and the insurance company will not pay anymore with or without a lawyer.

The reality is big insurance knows there is a good chance they will pay more to reperesented car accident injury victims than unrepresented victims. But you must choose your lawyer wisely. Beware of ambulance chasers.

Here is a link to a post from Norman Fernandez car accident attorney that tells it like it is. Norman is an attorney that I admire very much. He’s a self made man with a military and engineering background as well as an avid motorcyclist. In my book he is a top notch  lawyer accident injury lawyer. He  has the courage to speak his mind , which is refreshing , as many lawyers just want to be politically correct. He’s a man’s man and a lawyer’s lawyer. If you had to be in a foxhole or hire lawyer  I’d recommend Norman.

So if you are thinking about representing yourself in a car accident or why to hire a care accident lawyer,  click on this link to read the article Epidemic Of Stupidity by Attorney NormanFernandez.

 

Anthony Castelli is a Cincinnati car accident lawyer that will guide you every step of the way. He wants to not only help you on this case but he wants to be your trusted advisor for life. He’s not interested in short term one and done relationships. That’s why “We treat you like family” Call Tony  for a free consult at 513-621-2345 . What do you have to loose? Maybe a whole heck of a lot.

 

Before You Hire A Cincinnati Car Accident Lawyer Read Attorney Advertising Revealed

Attorney Advertising revealed

Car accident injury victims suffer not only from their injury , but from the risk of hiring a car accident attorney that may be an ambulance chaser or taking their chances of  getting ripped off by big insurance by representing themselves. People seriously injured in an auto accident by the fault of another deserve to be made whole for their damages. But what is the best way for a bodily injury victim to get the most money.

Some car crash victims try to handle their case by themselves. The insurance companies even fosters this. They play into the, all too sad but true stereotype, of the greedy ambulance chasing lawyer out to make a fast buck. Sad to say there are lawyers like that. But a careful person can gain the knowledge  to hire the right lawyer, especially in the day of the internet.

Many people are surprised at how many lawyers write them letter after they were hurt in a car wreck. Some think it’s an invasion of privacy. Others, usually with little experience of the legal system will hire a lawyer that writes them through the mail. Otherwise the lawyers would stop writing these letters. But what do you really know about a lawyer that sent you a letter. Are they skilled and compassionate or are they running through many cases as fast as they can?

Because I hate seeing people get ripped off by lawyers or insurance companies I wrote the book  Attorney Advertising Revealed . You can click on the link to download it for free. As stated by the publisher:

 In his new book Anthony Castelli gives you a rare look inside lawyer advertising. He pulls back the curtain on what he terms “meaningless” lawyer advertising. There is nothing worse than making the mistakes of relying on big insurance to protect your rights or hiring a lawyer that’s not competent. From his position as an experienced insider, Anthony explains what to watch out for and what steps to take to help you hire a good personal injury lawyer.

So if you make the decision that you need the guidance and help of an experienced car accident injury lawyer the tools are available to you to find a good car accident injury lawyer. But before you hire an attorney or talk with an adjuster read the book.

Anthony Castelli Attorney Cincinnati, Ohio

8170 Corporate Park Drive #220

513-621-2345