Negative Publicity Makes Insurance Company Pay Claim
National news concerning a workers compensation insurance company’s denial of a claim has resulted in an about-face by the insurance company. Mark Lunquist, a Joplin, Missouri, social worker, sustained devastating injuries when he risked his life to save three developmentally disabled adults from the recent Joplin tornado. Lunquist and a co-worker placed mattresses over the men in an effort to shield them from the tornado, and climbed atop the mattress to provide extra support. The 200 mph tornado’s winds lifted Lunquist and threw him nearly a city block. As a result, Lundquist sustained numerous injuries, including broken ribs, lost teeth, and an obliterated shoulder. The injuries left him in a coma for nearly two months. The medical expenses associated with his treatment exceed $2.5 million.
As Lunquist was in the course of his employment at the time, his medical bills were submitted to his employers workers compensation insurance carrier. Accident Fund Insurance Company of America inexplicably denied the claim based on the fact that there was no greater risk [to Lunquist] than the general public at the time [he was] involved in the Joplin tornado. The Associated Press published the story of the denial in newspapers around the country. Shortly thereafter, the insurance company changed its tune and agreed to pay the claim.
This story is yet another example of an insurance company attempting to shirk its responsibility to pay a legitimate claim. If you have been given the run around by an insurance company, Abrahamsen, Conaboy & Abrahamsen can help.