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Disability Insurance Company Refuses to Pay Victim’s Benefits


This is the story of a friend and a client and a classic case of how insurance companies can let you down very badly when you need them the most.

Mary Nehrlich was a top insurance saleswoman. She was as good as they got. Mary was a top producer in insurance sales and received many awards and accolades for her sales volume.

Mary thought she had prepared herself for every eventuality that insurance could cover, and she had. In selling insurance, she was a total believer. She had purchased, for herself and her family, every type of insurance she sold, including disability insurance. What she wasn’t prepared for was the way the insurance companies whose products she sold would show her the door when she was down and out.

Mary was severely injured in a horrible car crash on Oct. 18, 1995. She was driving near the intersection of McFadden and Springdale streets in Huntington Beach when a speeding motorist ran the red light and struck her vehicle. The other driver had been drinking.

The car was totaled and she suffered traumatic head, shoulder, hip and back injuries. She underwent knee and shoulder surgeries and later rehab at UCI Medical Center for three years. But, quite unexpectedly, she was also diagnosed with a brain injury months after the incident. The man who hit her also turned out to be an uninsured motorist. Her disability insurance carrier, for whom she was a top salesperson, declined to pay her the benefits promised in her policy.

“I wasn’t drooling or sitting on a wheelchair,” she said. “So to them, there was nothing wrong with me and they refused to pay me. They basically told me that I didn’t look disabled, so I was not disabled.”

But Mary knew that she did not have the abilities she once had. Doctors found that one part of her brain had suffered such severe trauma that it simply shut off. “It took a five-year court battle, but we did it,” she will tell you.

Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys recovered $500,000 on her auto insurance. And then we pursued Mary’s disability insurance carrier for failure to pay her the benefits of the policy she bought and had been selling. At nearly the last moment, in front of the trial judge, in the federal court house, the disability insurance carrier agreed to a significant settlement, as long as the terms of the settlement remained confidential.

I cannot stop thinking about the irony in this case. Here was a woman who made tons of money for insurance companies, especially this insurance company, but was dropped like a hot potato by the very same company whose coffers she helped fill. Mary was surprised at their callous actions. I was not, because in three decades of representing clients who are seriously injured in auto accidents, I have dealt with client’s own insurance companies. They will do everything they can, including “deny, deny, deny” and “stall, stall and drag it out” tactics to try and wear down their insured and avoid payment of policy benefits. They gladly accept your premiums but rarely want to pay out any benefits.

I love going after companies like these guys. It’s never easy, they fight like hell but when we win money for our clients, especially in these cases, the satisfaction we get out of it is very special and validates the work we do and our system of justice.

Got questions about an accident of an insurance company not paying benefits? Call me; John Bisnar 800-259-6373, for your free consultation.

Money cannot make your injuries go away or give you back the life you once had. But it will go a long way to paying your medical bills, replacing your lost income and offsetting the losses and suffering that comes along with a serious injury accident.

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