Court rejects State Farm appeal of bad faith verdict
Insurance companies have deep pockets when it comes to advertising. All of us in Arizona have seen slick TV commercials from State Farm and its competitors that use humor, drama and celebrity endorsements to try to convince us to buy insurance policies from them.
However, these companies did not become so wealthy by putting their customers’ needs above profits. Sometimes, they act in bad faith in order to avoid paying a rightful claim, and get caught in the act.
The Georgia Supreme Court recently declined to hear an appeal by State Farm of a verdict that awarded a customer the cost of repairing her car, plus $35,000 in penalties and attorney fees. The case involved widely differing estimates of the cost of repairing the woman’s car after it was vandalized in 2011.
According to Body Shop Business, someone broke the car’s windows, slashed her tires and scratched the paint. The owner took the car to a body shop, which estimated it would take more than $9,500 to repair the vehicle.
However, State Farm claimed it should only cost slightly more than $5,000. According to the woman’s attorney, the insurer used an “internal method” to determine the estimate. This “internal method” was different than what was outlined in the woman’s insurance policy, a sign of bad faith, the attorney said.
The jury agreed, and State Farm has now unsuccessfully appealed twice.
Insurance companies do not like to lose bad faith insurance cases. To give your case a fair chance, you need a skilled insurance bad faith attorney on your side.