K.W. v. CSAA

$1,025,000 Settlement: Underinsured Motorist Claim
Alameda County

K.W., an Underinsured Motorist Claimant, was a 45 year old handyman raising two young daughters as a single father who was struck by a van while walking as a pedestrian, and initially had soft tissue injuries and worsening of a pre-existing lumbar disc injury.  He eventually developed cubital tunnel syndrome in his left (non-dominant) elbow, and underwent nerve transposition surgery.  After the elbow surgery, he developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in his left elbow, causing him constant elbow pain, swelling, temperature changes (ice cold sensation), skin mottling and other symptoms.  Claimant also sustained a 3-4 mm L5-S1 disc protrusion, and this caused lumbar pain, which was also constant.

After CSAA took Claimant’s deposition, the in-house attorney for CSAA stated that he was informed by CSAA that “there may be no coverage for this claim,” since Claimant allegedly “cancelled his policy.”  After Mr. Tomasik sent a detailed letter explaining how Claimant had not cancelled his policy and demanding that CSAA acknowledge coverage and allow the UIM claim to proceed, CSAA agreed that their policy was in effect and that it provided UIM coverage for the claim.

Claimant was unable to work due to his severe pain and disability, and was suffering severe financial distress as a result of his injuries.  Claimant settled with the adverse driver for his $15,000 policy limits, and Mr. Tomasik then demanded Claimant’s million dollar UIM limits from his insurance company (CSAA), minus the $15,000 set-off for the third party settlement.

While CSAA did eventually pay the million dollar limits, they repeatedly delayed the handling of the claim, and they litigated the UIM claim for over a year without making a settlement offer.  CSAA then initially made a settlement offer of only $210,000, but after Mr. Tomasik stated that Claimant would proceed to binding arbitration if CSAA did not pay the entire million dollars of UIM coverage, CSAA eventually agreed to pay the entire million dollars. With payment of an additional $25,000 in Med Pay benefits, the total recovery to Claimant was $1,025,000.

Claimant filed a subsequent bad faith lawsuit against CSAA for improper claims handling of the UIM claim, and he obtained a multiple six figure recovery for that claim.