Some things just make my blood boil. The trial lawyer wisdom nowadays says you’re not supposed to show your emotion: be the messenger and let the judge and jury get mad, don’t do it yourself. Well, yesterday I filed a lawsuit and I’m angry on behalf of my client. I hope it doesn’t hurt my client’s case.
Here’s the low-down: my client is an incredibly hard worker. She’s worked two jobs, essentially 60 hours per week for at least the last 5 years. Then, she gets in a car wreck — drilled from behind — and, she can’t work. She’s having a lot of soft-tissue pain.
One of my client’s jobs required some heavier lifting, so when the doctor released her to go back to work, it was with restrictions that her heavier job couldn’t honor. So, she goes back to work at one job, but can’t at the other. To make a long story short, she just can’t do that second job, and gets let go.
My client is now out of a good job, and still in a lot of pain while she’s working her first job. She has to take pain medication when she gets home from work, but she’s able to do it. She goes to her physical therapy appointments and doctor appointments and the doctor doesn’t think she should start looking for a job to replace the one that let her go, because she’s just not feeling back to where she was before the wreck.
We let a little time pass, and we send a request for our client’s wage loss from the heavier lifting job. Under Montana law, the insurance company is required to pay all lost wages that are caused by the accident. (To see why, click here). We get no response. A month passes, we write another letter, still no response.
Finally, the insurance company responds – “we need more information” they say. I don’t really think they need more information, but I get them what they ask for. A month passes. They write again, “we need more information” they say. I don’t really think they need more information, but I get them what they ask for. Another month passes, my client goes to the food bank for groceries.
They write again, “we still don’t have enough to decide.” They do, actually, and have had for months.
“So, what else do you need?” I ask.
“We don’t know,” they say, “you send us what you think we need.”
I scratch my head. “I sent you a doctor’s letter saying client couldn’t work more than 40 hours because of the accident, proof of how much she was making before, proof she got let go … what else do you need?”
They want to talk to my client. At first I say “no.” They wouldn’t just take her word for it, in fact, that’s why we had to run around and get letters from everybody. Why is it going to matter what she says? But then, Lee talks me into letting them do it. I bet him a nickel they will still refuse to pay.
They take her statement.
Several weeks pass. I win my bet. They finally refuse to pay her lost wages (big surprise, huh?) Well, technically, they agree they owe her a ridiculously low amount of wages based on some circular-reasoning I don’t understand. But, they don’t send a dime. And, they say she could have worked more than 40 hours a week.
Except, her doctor says she couldn’t.
So, we’re at this impasse and we’re filing suit. We don’t have a choice, if they’re not going to do what the law says, this is our only recourse. And, I’m ticked. You shouldn’t have to sue your own insurance company to get them to abide by the law.