Builds on N.M. Supreme Court Ruling on Misleading Sales Practices
(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) – The Will Ferguson & Associates Law Firm has carried the fight for good-faith treatment of insurance customers into the realm of commercial vehicle insurance.
The law firm pressed the personal-injury case of a commercial truck driver denied fair insurance compensation for severe injuries suffered in a head-on crash with an uninsured motorist.
The lawsuit targeted insurance company bad faith in claims handling and misleading and unfair practices involving the sale of New Mexico vehicle insurance to a commercial customer.
The plaintiff in the case was Gilbert Martinez, a semi-tractor trailer driver who was badly injured in a head-on crash while driving for his Los Lunas, N.M., employer on along U.S. Hwy. 60 on April 6, 2010. The other driver, who was at fault, fled the state. The other driver’s insurance carrier – if any – was unknown.
After the crash, Martinez, who lives in Albuquerque, learned from his employer, Edeal Dairy of Los Lunas, that permanently debilitating injuries he suffered to his hand, back and neck weren’t fully covered by Edeal’s $100,000 Uninsured Motorist (UI) and Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage.
In researching the case for a Bernalillo County District Court lawsuit filed in December 2011, Martinez’s attorney, Frank V. Balderrama of the Will Ferguson & Associates Law Firm, discovered that Edeal carried commercial liability coverage of $1 million. He also found that Edeal’s insurer, Travelers, had not obtained from Edeal a valid rejection of UI/UM coverage in the higher amount.
In similar case, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that insurance companies had misled New Mexico insurance consumers who bought UI/UM auto coverage at levels lower than their policy limits. Evidence in that case showed that UI/UM coverage in amounts lower than policy limits can be essentially worthless in many circumstances.
To remedy he industry’s prolonged pattern of misconduct, the high court retroactively reopened tens of thousands consumer auto claims going back to 2004. The reopened claims – including claims that were previously settled for less than policy limits or were denied outright – are worth millions of dollars. They continue to be re-examined and pursued with the assistance of New Mexico personal-injury attorneys, including the Will Ferguson & Associates Law Firm.
In the Martinez case, Balderrama argued that commercial insurers should be held accountable for, and deterred from, the same misleading sales practices consumer companies had engaged in. The lawsuit charged Travelers with bad faith dealings in violation of the New Mexico Unfair Claims Practices Act.
The Martinez case was resolved out of court in June 2012. “Although details of the settlement of this case are confidential,” Balderrama said, “I can say that we were able to compensate Mr. Martinez for the true value of what his serious injuries and damages are.”
The Will Ferguson & Associates Law Firm represents people seriously injured by the negligence of others and the families of persons who die because of the negligence of others. For more information, contact Will Ferguson & Associates, (505) 243-5566 or 1 (800) 251-5566. Will Ferguson & Associates maintains two offices in Albuquerque and an office in Amarillo, Texas, to serve families and people injured in Texas. That office is at 2901 I-40 West, Amarillo, Texas 79109. The Amarillo phone number is 806-374-4024.