May 17, 2007

High Speed Accident Kills Motorcyclist

Early Tuesday morning, a high speed motorcycle accident killed a local man. The motorcyclist, identified as Michael Bartholomew of Edgewood, was traveling northbound on River Road near 31st street in Puyallup when his motorcycle rear ended a pickup truck. A State Patrol spokesman said that the motorcyclist was speeding when he crashed into the truck. The impact caused the motorcycle to fly into oncoming traffic, striking two other vehicles, and killing the motorcyclist instantly. Traffic was slow during the Tuesday morning commute due to the ongoing investigation.

For information on motorcycle safety, please visit the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website at

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May 16, 2007

Negotiating with insurance companies

Insurance adjusters are trained professionals whose goal is to settle your case as quickly and cheaply as possible. Every time you communicate with the insurance company their mindset is geared toward evaluating your claim in the light most favorable to their interests. Your bodily injury claim should never be settled on their terms or timetable. Tom Budinich at Bernard & Lindquist used to work as a bodily injury adjuster and he knows how insurance companies work. Without the legitimate threat of filing a lawsuit in your corner, an insurance company will never evaluate your claim for its true worth. Contact Bernard & Lindquist today and we can give you a free evaluation of your case and all of its components including medical bills, wage loss, and pain and suffering.

May 16, 2007

Semi- Truck Rollover Halts Commute

Just as the morning commute began, a semi tractor trailer heading westbound on I-90 overturned blocking all lanes of the freeway. The accident occurred at 6:45 a.m. just west of the Mount Baker tunnel. Fortunately, traffic was able to get past the overturned semi by driving on the shoulder of the freeway. Approximately 45 minutes after the truck accident occurred, the Washington State Department of Transportation pushed the semi to the side of the road allowing traffic to pass on several more lanes of the freeway. This accident is currently still under investigation.

May 16, 2007

Fatal Hit and Run Accident in Burien

A fatal hit and run accident occurred Tuesday afternoon when an unidentified vehicle hit an elderly woman crossing a Burien street. The 81 year old woman was crossing at a marked crosswalk in the 13500 block of Ambaum Boulevard when a mid-90’s tan or gold Lincoln Town Car collided with her. The woman, who has not yet been identified, died at the scene. Anyone with information on the driver or vehicle involved in this pedestrian accident is asked to please call 911.

Source Article:

May 15, 2007

Insurance Fair Conduct Act Is Passed By The Legislature!

On Tuesday, May 15, 2007, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law the Insurance Fair Conduct Act. This bill finally gives real penalties for insurance companies who unreasonably deny a claim or fail to pay benefits to their insureds.

The attorneys at Bernard & Lindquist have fought for passage of this bill. It has become standard practice in the insurance industry to "shave" off claim payments. For example, in the case of an at-fault driver who runs a red light and broadsides another vehicle, we commonly see an insurance adjuster arbitrarily assigning some percentage of fault on their own insured driver who had a green light. By doing this, the insurance company does not have to pay 100% of their insured’s vehicle damage or medical bills. These are benefits paid for by the insured in his monthly premiums. The amount “shaved” by the insurance company may total only a few hundred dollars per claim, but it saves the insurance industry executives millions.

Prior to passage of this law, an insured driver had no recourse but to accept the insurance adjuster’s low offer because if he filed a lawsuit he could only receive the amount the insurance company should have paid in the first place.

Without some risk of having to pay more than the claimed amount, there is no deterrent to the insurance company for unreasonably denying a claim. The Insurance Fair Conduct Act corrects this inequity by allowing for an award of attorneys fees and costs if it is determined that the insurance company acted unreasonably in denying a claim or in paying benefits. It also allows the court to award up to three times the amount of the actual damage if denial was egregious.

Please thank Governor Gregoire and the sponsors of this legislation, Senator Brian Weinstein and Representative Steve Kirby. The consumers of Washington State finally have a means to level the playing field against the insurance industry.

To view the text of the bill click here.

May 15, 2007

You Can Repair Your Vehicle At The Shop Of Your Choice

The Washington Administrative Code 284.30.3903 provides that an insurance company must make a good faith effort to honor your request for repairs to be made in a specific repair shop and cannot arbitrarily deny your request. The insurance company cannot deny that the repairs be made at a specific shop due to the shop’s hourly rate if this does not result in a higher overall cost of repairs.

If the overall cost of repairs cannot be agreed upon, the insurer must:
(1) Provide you with the names of reputable repair shops reasonably close to you that can satisfactorily complete the repairs for the amount of their estimate; and
(2) Make an appropriate notation in its claim file setting forth the reason it has rejected your request.

If you choose to take your vehicle to a repair facility in which the overall cost for a satisfactory repair is higher than the insurer's estimate, you may be liable for any additional amount above their estimate.

For more information on this or other car accident related insurance issues, contact our offices at

May 13, 2007

How Can I Tell If The Insurance Company Is Acting Fairly In Settling My Claim?

The Washington Administrative Code 284.30.330 provides the following specific unfair acts or practices regarding the settlement of:

(1) Misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions.

(2) Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies.

(3) Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies.

(4) Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation.

(5) Failing to affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time after proof of loss statements have been completed.

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