Mansell, Engel & Cole

Insurer now challenges agreed-to settlement amount in accident case

Insured individuals, families and businesses in Oklahoma and across the country know well from experience that insurance companies are tight with their dollars.

Put another way: It is a commonplace of insurers' business models to willingly take in whatever they can get from premiums paid out by policyholders while trying at the same time to pay out the least amount possible relevant to any given claim.

There are various strategies routinely employed to advance that aim, of course. We note some of the more commonly used tactics that advance the interests of insurers while simultaneously harming those who rely upon their good-faith performance on our website at the Oklahoma City law firm of Mansell, Engel & Cole. In advocating diligently on behalf of policyholders involved in insurance disputes, we routinely see "denied claims, delayed payments, partial payments and refusal to defend the insured."

And those stratagems hardly comprise the entire playbook of companies that simply don't want to pay out the full amount of a claim.

A recent media report chronicling the efforts of one insurer to revisit an already agreed-to settlement in order to claw back funds already paid to parties involved in a tragic vehicle accident well illustrates that fact.

Many of our readers might well remember the 2014 accident in which comedian Tracy Morgan was badly injured after a fatigued Walmart driver slammed into the back of a vehicle he was riding in. One of Morgan's friends died in that crash.

A settlement in an undisclosed amount was ultimately reached in the case, but is now being challenged years later by Ohio Casualty, which has argued in federal court that Morgan exaggerated his injuries.

As Morgan's attorney notes, that allegation might be a hard sell for the insurer. Morgan was in a coma following the accident and now suffers from a brain injury. Moreover, he broke ribs and a leg in the crash.

Morgan is resisting a demand to appear for a deposition, with his counsel terming the insurer's recent actions as "harassment" and pointing out the undisputed evidence that all the people who suffered from the accident "were devastatingly injured."

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