Attorney Matthew Shafner Settles Egregious Case Against State Farm Insurance for $350,000

2/28/2012

A case against State Farm Insurance involved two young children who were passengers in the back seat of a car. The driver ran off the road, overturned the car and seriously injured herself and the two children. The five year old girl pulled her little sister from the wreckage and was found by EMTs lying unconscious in the roadway. She developed emotional issues following the rollover and is still frightened of car rides. The medical records show the five year old had minor facial scarring, cuts and bruises, was hospitalized overnight and incurred about $4,010 in medical bills. The scars healed well and there was minor medical follow up.

The younger sister, aged 18 months, sustained a fractured femur, a fractured pelvis and a fractured skull with severe scarring running from the midpoint center of her forehead into her scalp. She was taken to a local hospital and then flown by Life Star to Hartford Hospital where she was hospitalized for six days and placed in a spica cast for three weeks. She incurred over $52,000 in medical bills.

State Farm insured the family for $250,000/$500,000. They attempted to settle the case by offering $6,000 for the older girl with $4,000 in medical bills, and $22,000 for the younger girl. State Farm also prepared a release for the father to sign which actually contained a waiver for future claims. They never mentioned that Blue Cross could assert a claim for reimbursement of $52,000 for the younger child's medical bills. State Farm knew the parents were unrepresented by counsel and the children had no one appointed to represent them. They also knew that the parents had no familiarity with liability insurance and were easy targets to take advantage of.

Suit was initiated by Attorney Matthew Shafner in September 2009. Potential Bad Faith claims were possible based on multiple violations by State Farm of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act. Attorney Shafner cited a case out of Utah which reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Campbell v. State Farm, in which the trial record detailed a sordid practice of egregious behavior by State Farm.

After unacceptable offers were rejected, the case finally settled for $100,000 for the older girl and $250,000 for the younger girl.