Recent Legal Decisions Received by the Attorneys at Willis & Willis Co.

Nov 03, 2009

Have you ever received paperwork from your insurance company telling how they’ve changed your policy? Have you ever wondered why insurance companies have the right to just change their coverage at any time? If you and I entered into an agreement where I would pay you $100.00 to paint my barn, I cannot unilaterally just change my mind in the middle of the job and tell you I’m only going to pay you $50.00.

Why is it that insurance companies have the right to change coverage whenever they feel like it? We recently had a client who had auto insurance coverage with a major insurance company. (You’ve seen their ads on T.V.) They sent him paperwork changing his policy. This particular change clearly affected his rights under the policy as it pertained to injuries he sustained in a collision. Ohio has statutory regulations, enforced by the Ohio Department of Insurance, specifying how insurance companies can modify their policies. Through extensive research through the records at the Ohio Department of Insurance in Columbus we were able to establish that the insurance company had not followed the legally required procedures to change the policy language. The court ruled in our client’s favor finding that the original policy language governed. This case involved our firm spending significant time and energy chasing down a long-shot lead to better advocate for our client. 

In a case where a woman was killed when she was struck by a vehicle on private property, we were successful in establishing that the vehicle’s driver’s insurance provided coverage for funeral expenses and medical bills. Allstate Insurance Company insured the driver and argued that she should not have been considered an insured under their policy. The language, however, of the Allstate policy and the existing case law established that she was in fact an insured. The court ruled in our client’s favor.         

In the same case, American Family insured the woman who was killed. We were successful in arguing that American Family provided coverage to her family. American Family argued they did not owe coverage to the family members. The court ruled in the family’s favor citing the language used by American Family in their policy and found that the total $325,000 limits in coverage was applicable. 

In another case, a client purchased a used car from a dealer with a 30-day warranty and the car immediately experienced problems that the dealer couldn’t or didn’t repair. After many repair attempts, our client left the vehicle at the dealership and demanded her money back since the dealer could not get the vehicle to run properly. The dealership refused to refund her money but turned around and sold the car to someone else.  The court agreed with us and held that the dealership’s actions violated several provisions of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act. The court awarded our client all of her money back plus her damages. This amount was tripled per the statute, as the Defendant had engaged in the wrongful conduct knowingly, and our client recovered her attorney fees. All of this totaled $58,000.00.

   We recently tried a rear-end automobile collision wherein the plaintiff claimed permanent and significant neck injuries and the defense claimed that it was a mild collision causing hardly any damage to the vehicle let alone to the driver. Our client turned down an insurance company offer of $20,000.00. The jury only awarded $11,015.00.

   We recently arbitrated a case where our client was injured in a multi-car rear-end collision while on the job. Our client had significant shoulder injuries and Worker’s Compensation paid her medical bills and lost wages. We were successful in getting the main defendant’s insurance company to pay their limits of $50,000.00 to our client. We then pursued an underinsured motorist claim under our client’s insurance policy and forced the case to arbitration. Our client’s insurer claimed the $50,000.00 already paid was all the claim was worth. The arbitration panel awarded an additional $32,500.00. We were also successful in negotiating a reduction of the amount of money Worker’s Compensation wanted returned. 

Willis & Willis Co., L.P.A.
670 West Market Street
Akron, OH 44303

Local: 330-535-2000

Fax: 330-434-5248

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