Insurers tell Walmart They Won’t Pay Tracy Morgan’s Crash Settlements
It has been reported that Wal-Mart’s legal team has sued a group of their insurance companies for refusing to pay the settlements in the notorious June 2014 crash which critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed his friend, James McNair. Back in 2014, one of Wal-Mart’s truck drivers, Kevin Roper, crashed into Morgan’s limo. It was documented that Roper was driving 20 mph over the speed limit and was very fatigued at the time of the accident. The famous comedian immediately filed suit against Walmart in July 2014 while he was still in rehab, and settlement was reached earlier this year.
Now, two of Wal-Mart’s insurance companies–Liberty Insurance Underwriters and Ohio Casualty Insurance–have countersued in Middlesex County claiming that Wal-Mart did not fight hard enough to negotiate a lower settlement with the victims in the crash. The insurance companies thought the settlements were excessive. Wal-Mart filed the lawsuits in October against their insurance companies claiming they have breached their contract by not paying the settlements.
Suing Someone Else’s Insurance Company in Tennessee
In the story described above, Wal-Mart is essentially claiming that their insurance company is acting in bad faith by refusing to pay out the legal settlements they have agreed to. However, it is important to note that bad faith lawsuits only apply in first party contracts. This means that only the policyholder (in this case Wal-Mart) may bring suit to enforce the settlement. The victims of the accident– Tracy Morgan, may not. They will have to recover their settlement from Wal-Mart directly, if Wal-Mart’s insurance company does not pay up.
If you are in an accident in Tennessee in which you are not the at-fault driver and are unable to reach a settlement with his/her insurance company, you will have to sue the at-fault driver. This will shift the burden onto the driver to go after his/her insurance company to pay the settlement or claims, or else s/he will be responsible for the costs to you directly.
Insurance companies for third parties also have a duty of good faith to an injured person, although this duty is lower than their duty to the policyholder. Typically, a victim of personal injury may only have a claim against the other driver’s insurance company if they engaged in outright lies or fraud, which has interfered with your ability to settle or file a claim.
Lastly, in the event the other at-fault driver did not have sufficient policy coverage to pay your claims, sometimes it is just easier to make a claim against your own insurance company for coverage under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Tennessee Insurance Disputes Litigation and Trial Attorneys
At the office of Calhoun Law, PLC in Nashville, we will diligently pursue your case, whether you are trying to recover from your own insurance company or someone else’s. At our law firm, we are dedicated to helping people resolve their civil disputes in the most beneficial ways possible. If you are having trouble having your claims or settlements paid out from an accident or injury, contact our attorneys today.