“In June 2021, you got a hysterical article about a parking lot accident at a Jack in the Box in St. Louis, Missouri that involved a cast of characters adapted to Saturday Night Live,” an email from “Eddie began. “, a retired insurance claims manager on the east coast.
“It was about the owner of a driving school who, without looking, backed up from a parking space and entered a car belonging to a 21-year-old university student. The driving school instructor admitted his fault, but my former employer jerked off this poor girl for months.
“Your story has provided a great education for consumers on how an insurance company shouldn’t act and has circulated widely among my former colleagues who are embarrassed by what happened.
“You indicated that the student was going to sue the driving school instructor in Small Claims Court for property damage and promised to keep us informed. What was the end result?
The company that pursues you!
To recap, college student Allison Ashbrook was offered $ 1,700 by the insurance company for the total of her car, which had a current value of almost $ 5,000. Claims adjuster Ahron Espino sent her a letter stating that she was 25% liable for “inattention and failure to take avoidance measures”, even though their insured admitted her fault.
Oddly enough, Espino referred to California insurance regulations, even though the accident happened 3,000 kilometers away in Missouri! This led to Allison finding my column and contacting me.
I left voice messages for the driving instructor, Patrick Gilfoy, urging him to bring in his lawyer and tell the insurer to settle the case so that he would not be prosecuted. Apparently this never happened.
In Small Claims Court
If I cause an accident, my insurance company is obligated to settle the claim – or at least try in good faith – so I don’t end up in court. Especially if I own a driving school, it is not too good for me to be sued for causing an accident, is it? Do you think the insurance company cared about Patrick’s reputation as a driving school owner and his instructor?
Allison filed a lawsuit in Small Claims Court with a complaint to the Missouri Department of Insurance. They contacted the insurer, and guess what? She receives a letter saying, “We have reconsidered and you are zero percent at fault!” “
Don’t confuse me with the facts, just dismiss your costume!
Even though the insurance company has admitted that its insured was 100% at fault, Allison receives a letter from Gilfoy’s attorney, Theodore G. Hughes – who works for a law firm that represents the insurance company. : “Patrick denies all the claims in the filing of the small claims, and would like to be fired.
“He also called, was condescending and didn’t offer to compensate me at all!” (At least he’s consistent, hanging up on me when I tried to discuss the case.) But in court, he admitted the accident wasn’t my fault and said I didn’t. should get that $ 2300 if I keep my car.
The Small Claims Court judge awarded him $ 4,300 plus court costs. But the insurance company refused to pay her! “Finally, I located their corporate responsibility manager in Missouri and sent them a copy of the judgment. I received their check a few days later.
Failed in his duty to Patrick
St. Louis lawyer Cassie Bulgaski, who handles bad faith insurance cases, was happy that Allison was finally paid and has comments on this case that anyone with auto insurance must know.
“The lawyer (of the company) was hired to represent the best interests of his client, the insured, and not the best interests of (the company), and this is something that should upset Patrick.
“His client’s best interest would have been to pay the young woman so that there would be no possibility of judgment against him. Although (the company) paid the claim, it will still show up on a Missouri credit report and search Case.Net that he had a judgment against him and that he could potentially cause problems for his business, future clients, etc.
“Shame on (the company) for allowing it to go this far. Shame on them for letting in weak judgment when everything could have been avoided. They paid a lawyer to appear, they should have made better use of the funds spent on the lawyer and just paid the claim. On the contrary, they were more interested in being contentious.
What my reader learned from this experience
I asked Allison, “What did you learn from all of this? “
“Insurance companies don’t care about the audience, no matter what their TV ads are. I learned how to put my case together and put it on. By disseminating your column, newspapers offer invaluable value to their readers with such useful information! Thank you, Mr. Beaver.
Thanks Allison for contacting me.