Berger v. State Farm, Multnomah County Case No. 1303-04315
Plaintiff Berger was driving a van that was rear-ended in rush hour traffic by another car. That car left the scene without exchanging information. Berger received PIP coverage from Defendant State Farm. However, after paying $12,296.57 in PIP medical coverage and $15,271.86 in PIP wage loss coverage, State Farm denied that further benefits were reasonable, necessary and related to the crash.
Berger brought this action against State Farm for breach of contract. He claimed that State Farm breached its contract with him by denying further PIP benefits. He also sought damages under his uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Berger alleged that the crash caused him soft tissue injuries to his neck/back, a sprained shoulder and rotator cuff, and an L5-S1 disc injury causing radicular symptoms.
He sought $24,101.16 in un-reimbursed medical expenses, $50,000.00 in future medical expenses, $172,967.00 in wage losses, $1,153,511.00 in lost future earning capacity, and $490,875.00 in lost household services.
Defendant State Farm argued that they did not breach the PIP insurance contract provisions because further medical care was not reasonable, necessary and related to the car crash. They pointed out that Berger’s van sustained only $624 in damage. They acknowledged UM coverage existed but disputed the nature and extent of Berger’s injuries.
Plaintiff’s Counsel – Willard Merkel
Defense Counsel – Carl Rodrigues
Verdict – $82,185.35 ($2,703.47 in unpaid PIP medical, $18,000.00 in unpaid PIP wage, $41,481.88 in UM for economic damages and $20,000.00 in UM non-economic damages)
Date – September 24, 2015September 29, 2015