Meet Kay Shea, now 86 years old, 83 at the time of her accident. In August 2011, Kay was hit head on by a 17-year-old boy on a two lane road in central Missouri. She was taken by air ambulance to the hospital where she would stay for the next 5+ months. Her injuries are too many to list here, the hospital bills were over $800,000.
There was never a question of fault. The boy admitted at the scene of the accident that it was his fault, in deposition he admitted it was his fault, at trial he admitted it was his fault.
There was plenty of insurance coverage on the boy; his family very responsibly had three different policies to protect their family and business — $3.5 million worth of insurance.
Kay ultimately had to sell her home in Missouri and move to Spokane, Washington to be taken care of by family.
What could possibly be wrong? No question of fault, plenty of insurance, a seemingly open and closed case, right?
The factor not understood at the time was insurance company method of operation as outlined by Justice.org.
You might think the insurance company is there for you, but are they when you need them the most?
Thus began a long and ongoing nightmare for Kay Shea, where, as of this writing, the insurance companies are still refusing to pay her anything.
- They initially offered her $500,000 to essentially “go away,” out of which hospital bills and lawyer fees would have to be paid.
- Months of delays followed.
- Depositions were taken (for a case where the question of fault was never an issue).
- Mediation occurred where the insurance company focus was to pay out as little as possible, using the argument that a jury would never award more than $500,000 so “take what we offer.”
- Which led to a trial, for a case where there was no question of fault.
- Where the three insurance companies actually put on a case of why it may have been the boy’s fault, but, they really shouldn’t be “responsible,” a strategy outlined in the article referenced above.
- They made this woman, then 85 years old, travel in her condition, from Spokane, Washington to Franklin County, Missouri.
- Kay originally asked the insurance companies for $1.5M, out of which hospital and lawyer bills would have to be paid, against the other family’s coverage of $3.5M, and was instead taken to a trial where they attempted to put on a case saying that although the boy may have been at “fault”, it really wasn’t their “responsibility”
- And then, to the jury, “please don’t give her any more than $750K, the Shea family is already taking care of her and she is where she should be”.
- The jury awarded $2.16M, out of which all medical and legal bills have to be paid.
End of story, right?
Now continues this merciless strategy from the insurance companies of delay, deny, defend, as outlined in the article link above. Motions for a new trial and threats of appeals that could continue for years. They are playing the “death card”: if she dies before they case is settled, they pay little. If she gets frustrated and gives up, they will pay less. She is now 86 years old.
A few other facts;
- The jurors were not allowed to know there was any insurance at all.
- The lawyers gave the impression that if a large award were given by the jury, it would irreparably harm this family.
- The jury was not allowed to know that the three lawyers sitting in front of the boy were actually insurance company lawyers.
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