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Recent Injury Law Blog Posts

Lawsuits & Congress Demand GM to Answer Tough Questions

Posted on 15 April 2014

When you start a car and drive it down the road, the last thing you expect is for the engine to shut off without warning. But... Read more


Aviation crash victims must sort through more than just wreckage

Posted on 23 March 2014

The recent tragedies in aviation serve as harsh reminders that air travel may result in unforeseen and even deadly complicati... Read more


How can we make sports safer for youth?

Posted on 16 March 2014

While we have seen discussions about the risk of traumatic brain injuries for NFL players, some are shining a brighter light ... Read more


Insurance Coverage Disputes Attorneys

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

Insurance Coverage Disputes

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.

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.