The Missouri Legislature issued new rules last year with more requirements for a written demand to be put into evidence in a bad faith case.
A bad faith case is when an insurance company should settle a case, but does not and leaves its insured subject to personal liability. It happens often. An insurance company acts in bad faith when it violates duties to an insured (who has paid premiums for years) and does not protect them when they are sued.
Spoiler alert - it worked and we settled Letitia's case for $100,000.
How to do a demand under RSMo. § 537.058 you ask?
First, put all the statutory requirements in the beginning:
- Caption: Letitia Stout v. Craig A. Nichoals, et. al.
- Case No.: 18SL-CC04507
- Claim No.: 034076358 0101 030
- Demand Amount: $100,000 (Policy Limits)
- Time Limit for Response: 90 Days
- Date of Loss: August 18, 2017
- Location of Loss: St. Louis County, Missouri
- Party to be Released: Geico Casualty Company
- Known Injuries: Shoulder, neck, chest, back, ribs
- Claims to be Released: Bodily injury and related claims
- Re: Demand Pursuant to RSMo. § 537.058
Second, describe the incident and damages, like this:
We represent Letitia for injuries she sustained in an automobile accident on August 18, 2017. This accident was caused when an uninsured motorist negligently changed lanes without signaling, crashing into our Ms. Stout’s vehicle.
We previously provided medical bills and records to your client, Geico Casualty Company. For your reference, below is a summary of Ms. Stouts medical costs:
Total Access Urgent Care $304.64
Accelerated Care Center $3,275.43
Greater MO Imaging $6,000.00
After the accident Ms. Stout suffered immediate pain in her left shoulder. She also had pain in her neck, chest, and back. Ms. Stout went to Total Access Urgent Care on August 20, 2018 and reported pain in her shoulder, neck, chest, and back, along with numbness in her extremities. She was diagnosed with a fractured shoulder and rib contusion.
Due to continuing pain, Ms. Stout went to Accelerated Care Center for further treatment. At ACC she reported continuing neck and shoulder pain. She also suffered from numbness, radiating pain, and limited mobility. She was diagnosed with a cervical strain and a CT scan was ordered for her neck and shoulder.
After a CT scan, Ms. Stout was diagnosed with a lumbar strain, cervalgia, and a torn labrum. She started treatment at Athletico Physical Therapy on September 14, 2017. She attended for 16 visits over the course of two months. Ms. Stout received four pain injections for her shoulder, but still continues to suffer from ongoing pain.
Letitia complained of shoulder pain immediately. She indicated this in the police report. She then indicated this to the urgent care center where she went for medical treatment. At the urgent care center, an x-ray revealed that her shoulder was fractured.
Dr. Solman at ACC entered a note on January 16, 2018 indicating that a MRI showed there was a rotator cuff tear and he recommended surgery. He says in his notes and we would expect him to testify at trial, that the tear was caused by this accident.
Letitia’s medical bills and treatment history indicate that this was a serious accident. She continues to suffer from ongoing pain and is expected to incur additional medical costs, including a rotator cuff surgery which would cost $95,000. Plaintiff hereby demands $100,000.00 to fully settle and resolve this claim.
Third, tell them how you complied with the statute:
This is a demand for settlement pursuant to RSMo. § 537.058. This is an offer of unconditional release of liability for Geico from all present and future liability for this case, as described by RSMo. § 537.060.
This demand is:
- made with the understanding that Ms. Stout has $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. If this is incorrect and there is additional coverage available, please advise immediately.
- accompanied by a list of the names and addresses of the health care providers that have treated our client’s injuries from the date of injury to the date of this demand. HIPAA compliant written authorizations sufficient to allow you to obtain records from the health care providers listed are also provided.
- accompanied by the name and address of our client’s employers at the time she was injured to the time of this demand. Written authorizations sufficient to allow you to obtain records from the employer are enclosed.
We believe, because of the clear liability and our client’s extensive injuries, it would be faith for your client to not settle this case for the policy limits. If you need any further information or documents to evaluate this claim, or have any questions, please let me know.
Fourth, accept the policy limits like we did for Letitia or go to trial and pursue the bad faith case.
Here's a video of Letitia and Jake Thomeczek of my office. Thanks to Jake for his great work and Letitia for letting us represent her. So great to be able to help a great lady. In the video they discuss, policy limit settlements, the legal effect of releases and how great she did in her deposition.