A Denver judge ordered that an insurance company pay its insured $890,000 in damages for its unreasonable delay in paying Underinsured Motorist Benefits (UIM). The Larson Larimer Schneider client was the driver of a motorcycle when involved in an accident with a pickup truck. The accident was caused by the driver of the pickup truck who did not have sufficient insurance to cover the client’s injuries. Although the client had $400,000 in UIM coverage with his own insurance company, his insurance company delayed paying these benefits to the client for several months.
After trial in the Denver District Court, the presiding judge determined that the client’s own insurance company unreasonably delayed paying the client his UIM benefits and acted recklessly in delaying these payments. The judge ordered the insurance company to pay the client 2 times the amount of the benefits that were delayed ($800,000 in addition to the $400,000 in benefits that had eventually been paid to the client by the insurance company); $90,000 in damages for their bad-faith conduct in delaying payment; and, interest and attorney fees.
The insurance company appealed the District Court’s Order to the Colorado Court of Appeals. The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the judge’s order related to the $90,000 in damages for bad faith, but affirmed the judge’s order related to $800,000 in damages for unreasonable delay and the attorney fees award. Final judgment, including costs, interest, and attorney fees, collected from the insurance company totaled $1,307,929.00.