Insured says she was forced to fight to recover settlement

Kelly Holleran Aug. 12, 2009, 4:52am

A woman who has already received $100,000 from two insurance companies is seeking even more money, saying she should not have been forced to fight her insurance company for her money.

Robin McGrath filed a lawsuit Aug. 6 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

McGrath claims the insurance company owes her the money because she was forced to proceed with an arbitration hearing against Liberty in order to be paid $80,000 on top of the $20,000 she had received in a claim settlement.

McGrath was awarded the money after she was involved in an accident Jan. 19, 2007, in Wood River, according to the complaint.

The accident was the fault of Tina Sherer, the driver of the other vehicle, the suit states.

At the time of the collision, Sherer was insured for $20,000 per person under a policy with Hanover Insurance Company while McGrath had an underinsured motorist policy with Liberty for $100,000, the complaint says.

With Liberty's permission, McGrath alleges she settled her claim with Hanover and Sherer on Dec. 4, 2007.

In turn, she requested Liberty pay $80,000 – the difference between the $20,000 she received from Hanover and the $100,000 worth of underinsured insurance coverage Liberty was supposed to provide, according to the complaint.

However, Liberty refused to pay McGrath any amount of money, so McGrath began an arbitration hearing against the company, the suit states.

At the arbitration hearing, McGrath was awarded the $80,000 she sought, the complaint says.

But because McGrath was forced to proceed with the hearing and incur expenses when there was allegedly not reasonable ground to reject full payment in the first place, she filed the Aug. 6 complaint in St. Clair County.

McGrath alleges breach of contract and vexatious delay in her complaint.

In the two-count suit, McGrath is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Stephen C. Buser of the Law Office of Stephen C. Buser in Columbia will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-411.

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