Excess insurance company argues it should not have to pay portion of $34 million Texas personal injury verdict

by Jay Pate

A division of the American International Group (AIG) insurance company has asked a Texas federal judge to force a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual insurance to pay its portion of the damages from a nearly $34 million verdict in a personal injury lawsuit that was issued earlier this year. AIG’s excess insurance company, National Union Fire Insurance, argued that Liberty Mutual’s Wausau Underwriters Insurance division should be required to pay National Union’s portion of a $33.8 million verdict in favor of a Fort Worth man who was seriously injured after falling through a plastic skylight manufactured by a company insured by Wausau.

According to the original lawsuit, Steve Landers was working at a building in Fort Worth, Texas when he fell through a skylight window manufactured by Wasco Products, the company that was insured by Wausau. Landers suffered a punctured lung, broken back, broken ribs, broken arm, and broken leg in the accident. He was eventually forced to have his broken leg amputated as a result of his injuries.

Landers filed a personal injury lawsuit against Wasco. Before the case went to trial, the two parties entered into mediation, during which Wausau rejected a proposed settlement of $375,000 to resolve the case. Landers’ lawsuit proceeded to trial in Texas state court, and a jury awarded him a $33.8 million verdict for his injuries. Wasco was held to be 45% liable for Landers’ injuries.

After the jury issued its verdict, Landers and Wasco returned to mediation and agreed to a settlement in the case. Although the amount of the settlement was undisclosed, the agreement exceeded the limits of Wausau’s primary insurance policy, forcing National Union to cover the excess amount.

National Union argued that it should not be required to pay because of Wausau’s failure to settle the lawsuit before trial. Wausau argued that it was justified in failing to settle the case because it had maintained throughout the trial that the Landers’ action was barred under Texas’ statute of limitations for product liability lawsuits.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson

Workers in Texas and other states across the U.S. have a right to perform their job duties in a reasonably safe environment. When private companies or public entities fail to ensure that working conditions for their employees are safe, they can be held accountable for the injuries resulting from their negligence. The first step to securing the compensation to which you are entitled is to enlist the help of an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process of filing a workplace accident lawsuit.

Insurance companies also have an obligation to defend their policyholders against personal injury claims or other litigation they may face. When an insurance company accepts a policyholder’s premiums when no claims are made, that insurer should be equally willing to support the policyholder when a claim is made. When the company refuses to do so willingly, it may be necessary to compel them to do so by taking legal action.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson, have handled hundreds of cases involving insurance litigation or personal injury lawsuits. Our law firm has the financial resources to handle personal injury cases—including those involving accidents in the workplace—from start to finish. In many instances, we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to take a case to trial on behalf of our client. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we are committed to achieving justice for our clients, whatever the cost.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a workplace accident—or if your friend or loved one was hurt or killed on the job—contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, please call us toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also follow the link to our free case evaluation form and answer a few simple questions about your case to get started.

by Jay Pate

John “Jay” Pate is a licensed attorney who focuses his practice on complex tort litigation involving catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and product liability cases.