Category Archives: Vehicle Accidents

Bad Faith

The U.S. District Court in the case of Robin Perkins v. State Farm addresses issues inquired about by many providers.  The main issue addressed was bad faith.
Robin Perkins was struck by a car while she was walking in a grocery store parking lot.  She was insured by State Farm (her motor vehicle insurance policy covered her even though she was a pedestrian) who refused to pay for her chiropractic care based on a peer review performed by another chiropractor well known to do this type of work.
The Court said, and it is correct, that there has been conflicting results in Pennsylvania as to whether Act 6 provides the exclusive remedy for the patient’s claim against State Farm, or whether she can bring a bad faith claim under the Bad Faith Statute (Section 8371), which provides for punitive damages.
Although the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has not weighed in yet to resolve the conflict, the U.S. District Court, following the Schwartz opinion in the Third Circuit, ruled that each case is fact dependent to determine whether the patient can bring a bad faith action.  In this case, the patient argued that the peer reviewer does substantial work for State Farm and therefore has a financial interest in providing a biased peer review.  Further, the patient alleged that the peer reviewer repeatedly gave negative peer reviews to State Farm in order to maintain its relationship with State Farm.  These allegations are not part of what Act 6 covers and therefore the patient could go forward with her bad faith claim.
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24 Dos and Don’ts Regarding Automobile Accidents

  1. DO call the police to the scene to take a report.
  2. DON’T admit any fault for the accident or volunteer any information.
  3. DO obtain the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witnesses at the scene.
  4. DO seek immediate medical care if you are injured.
  5. DON’T delay contacting your attorney for assistance regarding your claim.
  6. DO take photographs of your damaged vehicle and your injuries right away.
  7. DON’T fail to obtain a copy of the police accident report as soon as possible.
  8. DON’T appear in court without first consulting your attorney.
  9. DO report all of your complaints of pain and discomfort.
  10. DO return to your doctor for any continuing pain or discomfort.
  11. DON’T fail to keep any scheduled doctor’s appointments.
  12. DON’T fail to follow instructions from your doctor.
  13. DO have you damaged vehicle repaired, sold, or disposed of within a reasonable time.
  14. DON’T leave your damaged vehicle at a storage lot which will incur daily storage charges.
  15. DON’T talk to any insurance adjustors–yours or the other driver’s–without first consulting your attorney.
  16. DON’T give any written records or statements.
  17. DO make certain any time off work because of your injuries is approved in writing by a doctor.
  18. DON’T fail to inform your employer of all time off work that is caused by or related to your injuries.
  19. DO send originals of all hospital, doctor, prescription and other expense bills to your attorney, and save copies for you records.
  20. DO supply your attorney with your own related insurance policy and declarations page as soon as possible.
  21. DON’T fail to supply your attorney with any subordinate letter you receive from any insurance company.
  22. DON’T fail to report your medical treatment status to your attorney at least monthly.
  23. DO keep a written diary of how your injuries affect your normal activities at home and at work.
  24. DO inform your attorney of any changes in your address, telephone number, employment, or medical treatment.

Fair Share Act Again Unconstitutional

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed a lower unit ruling that the Fair Share Act is unconstitutional. The Fair Share Act could only allow for a portion of a verdict to be paid by any one defendant if that defendant was found to be 60% or  more liable for the verdict. Prior to that, and now because of the veto of Governor Rendell to a similar bill, any defendant may be liable to pay for the entire verdict irrespective of its percentage of the verdict. This is good news for patients who may have a case against multiple defendants in a motor vehicle accident, where one of the defendants was uninsured and another defendant had insurance.