This was my first jury trial, and it was over about $4,000.00. I represented a company that owned a truck that was insured by the partner that drove the truck. The partner was driving down the highway during a storm when a power line pole fell across the truck. The insurance company offered to pay $4,000.00 to settle the claim originally, then decided that it would not for various reasons, claiming my client was trying to pull one on them by insuring the vehicle under a different name than the owner. In pursuing this case, we sued for “vexatious refusal” damages – essentially punitive damages against an insured’s insurance company – for the damage to the truck, and for attorney fees. The jury awarded my client close to $9,000.00, finding that the insurance company had wrongfully denied the claim without a justifiable reason. My client would have settled for less than the original offer.
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