With Obama winning another four years in the President’s office, his self-named “Obama Care” health care plan is coming under renewed scrutiny.
In June this year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Congress requiring every U.S. resident to buy health insurance. The opinion did not comment on how the law would be applied by the States, nor did it require each of the States to expand Medicaid. However, for those States that agree to expand Medicaid to beyond those at or under the poverty level, the federal government would pay the full cost for the first three years, starting in 2014, and gradually decrease its share to 90 percent in 2020 and beyond.
“I think they’re still hoping that we are what they originally thought we were: stupid people that they could bully.”
~ Joan Fischer, the mother of Katie Fisher, who was killed in a car collision in 2010, comments on Katie’s insurance company, Progressive.
Joan Fischer’s daughter, Katie, was killed June 19, 2010 in a car accident. Katie’s insurance claim with Progressive made headlines in the New York Times.
On June 19, 2010, Katie was driving when she was hit by another car in an intersection. Two years later, a legal battle ensued between Progressive and Katie’s family.
The dispute in any civil case is two fold: 1) who is at fault, 2) how much money will they pay?
The other driver (“third party”) and a passenger in Katie’s vehicle said Katie ran the red light. A witness said Katie had a green light.
The third party insurer entered into settlement negotiations with Katie’s family and offered the insurance limits of $25,000 to avoid litigation. This sum was inadequate compensation for Katie’s life, so Katie’s family pursued a claim with Katie’s underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage on the Progressive policy. The policy had a $100,000 limit. UIM is available where the third-party is underinsured.
Progressive assessed that Katie was at-fault, and, consequently, was ineligible for her UIM. To fight for UIM coverage, the only option for Katie’s family was to sue the third party, who they had already settled with. Maryland’s law does not provide a remedy against Progressive for insurance bad faith; unlike in Washington State, where we have the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (“IFCA”), also known as RCW 49.30.015, promulgated by the Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.
In contrast to Maryland’s laws, in Washington State, an insurer has a duty of good faith in its dealings with its insured. The following are examples of bad faith, which is grounds for suing your own insurance company in Washington State:
“Not attempting in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear” WAC 284-30-330(6)
“Compelling a first party claimant to initiate or submit to litigation, arbitration, or appraisal to recover amounts due under an insurance policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in such actions or proceedings.” WAC 284-30-330(7)
Katie’s family sued the third party and Progressive Insurance intervened and took the case all the way to trial to try to prove that its own insured caused the collision to avoid paying $100,000. The jury found Katie did not cause the collision.
If this verdict occurred in Washington, Progressive would have to pay up to three times the verdict plus attorney fees and costs. The Insurance Fair Conduct Act, passed in 2007 in Washington, is a powerful deterrent and form of punitive damages for abusive insurance tactics like the one undertaken by Progressive.
Katie’s story is a reminder that consumer-friendly laws, like those in Washington State, are important to give a voice to the insured against the big insurance company. It is also a reminder of the importance in understanding your insurance policy. All insureds should take a moment to read their declaration page and see what levels of coverage they have, how much, and what is a covered “occurrence” and an “excluded” event under the policy.
Disclaimer: This page is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. An attorney-client relationship is not created or continued. If your insurance claim is being denied, contact Washington insurance bad faith attorney, Alexandra Filutowski.
When patients go the doctor, most think their personal information, medical history, ailments and test results are confidential. Most reasonably think it is all protected under the physician-patient privilege and Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPPA). Unfortunately, with the prevalent use of technology and health information, there are more incidents of HIPPA breaches.
Electronic medical records (EMR), also known as electronic health records (EHR) are becoming the standard for Swedish, Providence, Virginia Mason, University of Washington Medicine and MultiCare, to name a few regional medical clinics and hospitals. With this technology creating and storing your health information, you should be aware of the safety precautions used to maintain the confidentiality of the information.
Even with technology, human error is possible. In most breaches, information is misplaced, stolen or lost because of simple “human error and human nature,” said Susan McAndrew, deputy director for health information privacy in theU.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.
Most cases involve a hard drive containing personal information being stolen. The Chicago Tribune reported :
With Spring here, more families are pedaling the Burke Gilman and Greenlake trails with their children. While the family outing and exercise is excellent, parents should use caution with their baby seat carriers.
The manufacturer, Todson Inc., s cooperating with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) and announced Friday, April 6, 2012, a voluntary recall of its 40,000 imported Topeak Babyseat II bicycle carrier seats. The Topeak Babyseat II bicycle carrier seats are imported from Taiwan and retailed for $140 – $180.00. They have been on the market since January 2009. Consumers may either obtain a refund from the manufacturer, or a retrofit kit to eliminate the amputation risk.
For those looking for a crutch to help quit smoking, be wary of the electronic cigarette, commonly called ”e-cigarette”. Florida resident, Tom Holloway quit smoking two years ago. To assist him in staying off nicotine cigarettes, Mr. Holloway depended upon e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are battery operated. They simulate a cigarette, in how it is held in the hand and orally, but there is no smoke. Some offer a modified blast of nicotine, without any smoke.
Teasing among students in junior and high school is an expected form of the “growing pains” into adulthood, right? Not really. In extreme bullying cases, the law considers the mistreatment as abuse and harassment. And it is illegal.
Junior and high school years are influential on a teenager’s development into adulthood. Unfortunately, for Russell Dickerson, III of Aberdeen, he endured years of extreme physical and emotional abuse from his peers. And the Aberdeen school district did little to nothing to stop it.
Aberdeen junior and high school students would strip Dickerson and taunt him in the school hallways. Daily.
Going to school was a living nightmare for Dickerson.
Yet, he survived and filed a lawsuit.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represented Dickerman in a suit alleging bullying, etc. ACLU has a website with more information on bullying.
If your child is a victim of bullying, you may have a legal case against the school district for inadequate supervision and failure to intervene and protect your child from harm. Contact attorney Alexandra Filutowski for a legal consultation.
Copyright © 2012 The Filutowski Law Firm, PLLC. Disclaimer: This page is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. An attorney-client relationship is not created or continued.
‘Tis the season to be merry. Office parties, social parties, ugly Christmas sweater parties, or the fabulous Girl Power Hour Holiday Party December 15 – there is a lot of socializing…and drinking in the month of December. In fact, December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.
First started in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan, this national holiday has experienced increased community support and continues to promote safer streets on a daily basis.
With your Santa hat, elf costume, or perfect holiday cocktail dress, inhibitions are lost with a drink or two…and risks of injury increase.
After we’re stuffed full of turkey, pumpkin pie and rounds of thanks to family and friends, we gear up for holiday shopping. However, unfortunately, the day after-Thanksgiving is no longer a fun family outing to the mall to see the new holiday decorations, enjoy a cup of cocoa and slowly ease into the holiday spirit. Instead, the 21st century’s “Black Friday” has evolved into a hairy beast of desperation, manipulation and risk. In a year of continued economic recession and unemployment, the retailer marketing is attracting the extreme bargain-hunters from all socio-economic backgrounds, to stand in their pajamas, sleep-deprived at 3AM in the cold outside the store, adrenaline pumping, scheming how they will be the one to get their hands on the XBOX or laptop, or whatever prized product is the “it” gift this season.
A sports related injury, age or poor genes are all reasons why hundreds of thousands of Americans are receiving hip replacements. The average metal hip replacement should last 15 years without problem. Yet, since January 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received over 5,000 complaints of defective metal hip replacements. The number of complaints is more than the number of complaints received by the FDA in the past four years, combined. Thankfully, most complaints are not life-threatening. The injuries typically involve from crippling injuries caused by small particles of cobalt and chromium shed from the metal devices.