We recently had great success in a hard-fought battle against an insurance company. What is amazing about this case is we got around a settlement that the insurance company tried to trick her into.

Aarti was rear-ended and suffered severe injuries to her neck and right arm. She ultimately required surgery, and the total medical was over $40,000.

One week after the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company tried to settle the claim with Aarti over the phone before she knew the full extent of her injuries. They offered $260 for full settlement and agreed to pay for medical bills up to $2,000.

The insurance company then sent Aarti a letter saying she agreed to settle her injury claim for $260 and asked her to sign a release. Aarti cashed the check because she believed it was partial payment for her medical bills, not the settlement of her claims.

However, she did not sign the release.

After taking the case, the insurance company told us Aarti already settled her claim in full for $260. We disputed this and filed a lawsuit. The defendants raised the affirmative defense of accord and satisfaction, asserting that the dispute had been settled when Aarti cashed the check.

Under Missouri law, when an insurance claim involves a genuinely disputed amount, and the insured accepts in settlement of that claim-a draft designated as payment in full, an accord and satisfaction results. Clark v. Trader Ins. Co., 951 S.W.2d 750, 754 (Mo. App. 1997).

Missouri law agrees that where a claim is unliquidated or in dispute, a check has been tendered on the express condition that acceptance thereof shall be deemed to be satisfied in total, and where the payee cashes the check, an accord and satisfaction results. Id.

We rejected the defense of accord and satisfaction. During discovery, the defendants served requests for admissions attempting to get Aarti to admit that she settled her claim for $260, which we denied.

We asserted that the check was not for full settlement but rather partial payment for Aarti’s medical treatment.

After written discovery was completed, the defendants offered Aarti the policy limits of $50,000.

This case was a big win, and we were happy to help Aarti with this misleading claim.

This is why we do what we do – fight unscrupulous insurance companies trying to trick people.

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