Plaintiff was involved in an automobile collision in February of 2018. In April of 2020, the tortfeasor’s insurance carrier paid the $25,000 in policy limits on its liability policy. Providing documented medical expenses of $77,477, the plaintiff then made demand on State Form for the $50,000 in coverage provided under her uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
“The Defendant asserts that it is entitled to investigate the claim prior to payment to satisfy the demand. The Court agrees with this argument. However, the Defendant is not entitled to go on an eighteen (18) month ‘fishing expedition’ to determine the veracity of a claim.”
The Court went on to approve an award of $20,000 in attorney’s fees. “The amount awarded is reasonable for a contingency fee agreement for this type of case within Saline County. Without a contingency fee agreement in a case such as this, it is doubtful that a Plaintiff would be able to afford an hourly rate for the prosecution of this type of case against an insurance company with many resources at its disposal.”
Decoteau v. State Farm, No.63CV-20-432 (Circuit Court of Saline County, State of Arkansas, Sept. 13, 2021).