• Court Reverses Punitive Damage Verdict Against Insurer
  • October 25, 2016
  • Law Firm: Jones Skelton Hochuli P.L.C. - Phoenix Office
  • A motorcyclist was injured when he slammed into a car that had stopped abruptly in front of him. Although the driver of the car was uninsured, the motorcyclist had uninsured motorist coverage. The motorcyclist’s insurer denied the claim, however, because it concluded the motorcyclist was solely at fault in the accident. A jury found that the insurer breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing by unreasonably investigating and denying the motorcyclist’s claim for coverage (failing to investigate whether the driver was partly at fault), and awarded the motorcyclist $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. The court of appeals upheld the compensatory award, as evidence in the record supported the conclusion that the insurer did not reasonably investigate the motorcyclist’s and driver’s percentages of fault.