Sometimes loved ones call looking for lawyers for their parents or family members. In this case, a daughter called seeking counsel for her parents. The negligent driver was very underinsured so claims against his insurance broker had to be fully explored before resolving this crash case.
Speaker: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis.
When I was a young lawyer, I remember a defense lawyer referring to one of my colleagues as a pioneer. He said they were an early settler. He said it as a joke, making fun of them, saying that they settle early and they settle for too low amounts of money. I knew at that time I was never going to be that kind of lawyer and we’ve never had the reputation of doing anything other than working our cases hard aggressively and getting the best outcome.
About five years ago, I was hired by an elderly couple who were probably in their 80s. I was contacted by their daughter. Their daughter was trying to find the right lawyer for her parents. Not only because of the facts of the case but because of who they were. They were plainspoken country folks and she wanted somebody who could talk to them and they would trust.
I went and met with them. I ended up on a four-wheeler with her 80-year-old father. In that case, they were hit by a man who is seriously underinsured. He lived in a very large house. He had a lot of expensive cars, but right after this crash, he had filed for bankruptcy. He had an insurance policy, but it was just too low. Then we started checking other boxes. Sometimes you can hold an insurance agent responsible if they don’t fully explain and/or provide the policy coverages needed by their insured.
In this example, if the man had a lot of assets and money, but the insurance agent didn’t tell him he needed more in coverage, he possibly could have had a claim against his own agent. We checked all these boxes and ran down all these paths for these very nice people. In the end though, due to the bankruptcy and a few other things, we were only able to recover the amounts of insurance the negligent driver carried.
It was not an insignificant amount, but the next thing the insurance company wanted to do was settle with one of our clients, but not the other. Luckily, my clients listened to me and trusted me. I told them we need to stick together. At mediation, the insurance company brought forward adjusters, which was the first I’d seen that, even though this wasn’t a high-risk case in the bigger picture. In the end, they offered two-full-policy limits for both of these people.
The clients were very happy. The daughter keeps in touch with me and I’ve kept in touch with how her parents are doing. At Hill Law Firm, our clients are not our clients just for the case. Our clients are part of our family and we stay in touch with them as long as we can.