Accident Victim Sues Geico

GEICO LawsuitA Wasilla resident injured in an auto collision on Knik Goose Bay Road in December of 2010 is still fighting for compensation from her insurance company 3 ½ years later.

Barber and Associates, LLC, personal injury attorneys based in Anchorage, are suing the company, GEICO, on her behalf.

The court complaint alleges, among other things, that GEICO used a computer rather than a human to recommend damages for Donna Hickle’s pain and suffering.

Hickle was hurt when another vehicle rammed her pickup on Dec. 27, 2010. The injuries to her head, neck and back left her dizzy, sometimes in “excruciating pain,” and required surgery, Hickle said.

The lawsuit also says:

— GEICO lowballed her claim, placing its interests ahead of Hickle’s.

  1. GEICO “intentionally trained its adjusters to make low offers to claimants.”
  2. GEICO failed to “promptly and reasonably investigate and pay” her claim.

GEICO is liable for more than $100,000 for the injured woman’s medical expenses, loss of wages, disability, pain and suffering, the lawsuit says. And also more than $100,000 in punitive damages.

GEICO responded June 10. The company acknowledges that it used a computer program known as ClaimIQ to make some recommendations for compensating Hickle, but says other factors were taken into account as well.

And GEICO denies that it trains adjusters to make low offers, or that it failed to promptly and reasonably handle Hickle’s claim.

GEICO argues that Hickle should get nothing as a result of the lawsuit, and in fact should pay GEICO for its legal costs in defending itself.

Hickle’s pickup was struck by a vehicle driven by an under-insured motorist, Kayleigh Tuttle. Tuttle’s insurance paid up first, but didn’t fully cover Hickle’s damages.

So Hickle turned to her own insurance company, GEICO. GEICO insured her for just this situation, with coverage to pay for bodily injury and medical payments when one is involved in an accident caused by an under-insured motorist.

Last November, Hickle’s attorneys identified more than $71,000 in medical expenses to GEICO. The same day, GEICO’S adjuster offered Hickle $24,000 in addition to the $100,000 policy limit paid by Tuttle’s insurer.

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