John A. DeGasperis recovered $310,000 for a Basch & Keegan client in an insurance claim filed against Utica National Insurance Group. This insurance claim involved Supplemental Underinsured Motorist (SUM) insurance benefits.
New York State law requires drivers to carry certain types of auto insurance. SUM insurance is optional. You can purchase SUM insurance, although you are not obligated too. SUM insurance pays the difference between the full value of your losses and the coverage provided by the policy of the driver who caused your accident.
In this case, our client was a middle-aged woman from Kingston, New York, who was rear-ended in a car crash. Her injuries were very serious, especially a neck injury that required spine surgery with fusion of the cervical vertebra. She initially hired Basch & Keegan to file a claim against the other driver who caused the crash. John handled this case and quickly obtained the other driver’s full policy limits of $25,000.
John knew the $25,000 settlement did not make his client whole due to the significance of her injuries, so he pursued a claim against his client’s own insurance company, Utica National Insurance Group.
“I reviewed my client’s own car insurance policy. It included significant coverage for SUM benefits, and she needed every penny considering the extent of her injuries,” said John.
This case was a challenging one due to the client’s extensive history of neck pain and prior neck surgery. She had undergone spine surgery 6 years prior to the car crash. She had done reasonably well after the surgery except for an occasional “flair up” that would cause her some pain or muscle spasms. These flair ups occurred at a frequency of once per month, and they were resolved with Bengay or a prescription muscle relaxant.
Exactly one week after the accident, our client found herself in her neurosurgeon’s office for complaints of neck pain, shoulder pain, and left-sided arm pain that radiated down to the forearm and hand. Over the course of time, her injury profile grew more severe. Three months after the crash, our client underwent an expansion of her previous spinal fusion. The surgery resulted in a two-month, post-operative recovery which left her out of work during that period. She also suffers from permanent pain, neurological dysfunction, and restricted range of motion of the cervical spine. She has since returned to work.
In order to obtain the SUM insurance benefits, John filed a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association. The insurance company offered to settle the case for $310,000, and the client agreed to accept the offer.
Basch & Keegan is here to help after a car accident. Call us today for a free consultation at 845-338-8884.