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Ethel Adams - Victim of Farmers Insurance

Farmers Insurance denies claim then caves in only after pressure from Insurance Commissioner and Public.
Danny Westneat a columnist of the Seattle Times wrote a series of articles about Ethel Adams. Ethel was in a multi car auto accident in Seattle. "Farmers Insurance has decided not to pay her a penny because they say someone caused Adams' crash on purpose." They said this was not considered an "accident".
Ethel Adams was cut from her car, doctors debated if Ethel Adams would live or walk. She spent nine days in a coma, she had collapsed lungs, seventeen broken bones, spent one month in a hospital and five months in a nursing home. She is also confined to a wheelchair as you can see in the picture above.
Ethel Adam's employer had $2,000,000 of insurance coverage with Farmers Insurance Group. Farmers had used what is referred to as "exploiting technical loopholes" to make attempts to avoid paying Ethel Adams. Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler told Farmers Insurance they have until October 20, 2005 to justify their position for not honoring the claim of Ethel Adams. On October 20th Farmers decided the right thing to do was to pay Ethel Adams.
Farmers Insurance only caved in after being threatened with a lawsuit by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, complaints by the public, as well as national television exposure by both "Good Morning America" and Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," which were planning stories.  Read the articles below for more detail.
Some quotes from Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler: "They’re just wrong, and it’s obvious they’re wrong. The bottom line is they are going to pay this claim."...."If the company continues to refuse to pay, the state will initiate an administrative hearing accusing Farmers of violating the insurance code. That’s the first step in suing them."..."We could always suspend their certificate to do business in this state as well"

-Here is the letter in which Farmers denies the claim (6/22/2005).  It states, "Truck concludes that he acted intentionally in ramming Campo’s vehicle, causing it to overturn and pushing it into the southbound lanes of Aurora Avenue, and thereby causing the multiple vehicle collision that resulted in injury to Ms. Adams.  Testa’s conduct does not satisfy the application definition of "accident".  Truck is denying coverage for UIM claims based on Testa’s conduct for this reason." (Pg 4, Para 6)
-Letter from the WA Department of Insurance to Farmers Insurance (10/17/2005). It states, "The information available to us at his point demonstrates that the denial of her claim by your company is not only unconscionable, but is contrary to public policy."

Woman fights insurance giant and wins (10/20/2005)
State tells insurer to pay (10/20/2005)
Insurer does "right thing" - finally (10/19/2005)
Insurance should show heart toward crash victim (10/13/2005)
Outrage directed at insurance firm (10/20/2005)
Crash victim’s insurer should have a heart (10/14/2005)
Farmers Insurance Slogan Rings Hollow (10/14/2005)
Farmers Insurance has second thoughts (10/15/2005)
Crash Victim Feels Victimized All Over Again (10/14/05)
5 Injured As Several Cars Collide In Road Rage Crash (3/23/2005)
Farmers Insurance Does About-Face In Road-Rage Crash Claim (10/19/2005)
Consumer Protection: Foolish Farmers (10/21/2005)
Woman wins injury coverage after outcry, threat from state (10/21/2005)
Kreidler’s bill, Ethel Adams Bill HB2415 (1/10/2006)
Wash. Commissioner Testifies on Auto Legislation Involving Ethel Adams (1/11/06)
Insurance loophole focus of legislation (1/17/06)
Ethel Adams bill signed into law (3/24/06)
Fact Sheet: Ethel's Bill - HB 2415/SB 6182
Ethel Adams and her insurance company 10/31/07

"...when you need them most, they do something like this."

"This is everybody’s worst nightmare. You know you have insurance -- you’ve paid for it -- and you’ve got these massive injuries. Then to be told, ’No, you don’t have coverage,’ it was like someone punched me in the stomach. It makes you physically ill."

But I don’t agree Farmers "did the right thing." More like they were left no choice but to stop doing the wrong thing.

- Ethel Adams

"Gets you back where you belong"?  Maybe. If where you belong is in the pit of insurance hell.
- Ken Schram, Komo News

"I think I’ve counted five different times where the company has said, ’We’re denying you coverage,’" he said......"I battle with insurance companies all the time, but I’ve never had a case where they tried to claim it’s not an accident. Even that’s a new one for me." Paul L. Stritmatter (Ethel Adam’s Lawyer)

"This is about as low as an insurance company can possibly go," -said one of the messages to Kreidler’s office.

"Ethel Adams’ insurance carrier tried to apply an imaginative interpretation of the law to keep from paying her claim," said WA State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler

"She was an innocent driver severely injured by a road-rage incident. She was in a coma and disabled for life. But her insurance company still denied her claim." -WA State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler




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