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Recent Injury Law Blog Posts

Vote for The Velvet Hammer at ABA’s site!

Posted on 25 November 2014

Karen Koehler’s Velvet Hammer blog was selected again as one of the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100. Editors of the ABA J... Read more


Seattle’s 2nd Ave Death Trap – Bike Man Dan finds many risks for the uninitiated

Posted on 21 November 2014

As I’ve blogged about a number of times–even before the death of cyclist/attorney Sher Kung–many, including... Read more


Second Avenue Redux: Solving the mystery of those curved arrows…

Posted on 19 November 2014

In a previous post, I asked if anyone knew what those curved arrows at the Madison intersection signified. Bike Man Dan (our ... Read more


Insurance Coverage Disputes Attorneys

Ethel Adams suffered near-fatal injuries when an uninsured motorist hit her car. Her insurance company refused to pay; but SKW held them accountable. One year later: Governor signed the Ethel Adams bill

Ethel Adams suffered near-fatal injuries when an uninsured motorist hit her car. Her insurance company refused to pay; but SKW held them accountable. One year later: Governor signed the Ethel Adams bill.

Most people believe that they are in good hands, as long as they have insurance.

But when an accident occurs, people are often surprised that their own insurance companies will sometimes look for reasons not to pay their claims. The unfortunate fact is that insurance companies will often argue about whether a claim is covered under the language of the policy and the legal rules that apply. Stritmatter Kessler attorneys have litigated numerous cases against insurance companies that have denied coverage for claims, to force them to take responsibility for their obligations under the applicable insurance policy.

Representative cases

A judgment and settlement of $2,940,000 in 2009 for the wrongful death of a 46-year-old woman hit by a runaway dump truck trailer.  The insurance company for the corporation that owned the dump truck claimed that the insurance policy had been cancelled and refused to provide coverage for the claim.  The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the insurance company had to provide coverage because its attempt to cancel the policy was invalid.  In Cornhusker Casualty Insurance Company v. Kachman,165 Wn.2d 404, 198 P.3d 505 (2008), the Washington Supreme Court held that an insurance company’s use of certified mail to send a notice of cancellation of an insurance policy does not comply with the mailing requirement of RCW 48.18.290, but instead is a form of personal delivery and therefore actual delivery must be proved to comply with the statute.

A 2004 settlement after entry of a judgment and appeal for $4,687,704.21 for the death of a patient as a result of hospital negligence.  The insurance company claimed that the insurance policy covering the defendant had been cancelled.  The Washington Supreme Court held that the attempted cancellation by the insurance company was invalid in American Continental Insurance Company v. Steen, 151 Wn.2d 512, 91 P.3d 864 (2004).  The Supreme Court held that an insured and insurer could not cancel an insurance policy after the occurrence of the tortious act, even if it was a claims made policy.

Confidential settlement for the family of a man who drowned on a charter boat trip, in a claim under an accidental death policy.  The insurance company argued that the charter boat was not a "common carrier" under the terms of the policy.  The policy provided for a much higher payment if death occurred as a result of an accident involving a "common carrier."

A 1992 settlement for $2,825,000 for the bad faith of an insurance company arising out of an auto collision resulting in a severe closed-head injury.  The plaintiff made a claim on a $100,000 family policy applicable to the accident.  The insurance company refused to pay more than $25,000 on the insurance policy on the family vehicle involved in the accident.  After a substantial verdict in the auto accident case, the insurance company was sued for its bad faith in refusing to protect the interests of its insureds.