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Aug 27
2013

Woman Wins Lawsuit Against Husband

Money Bag After his insurance company refused to pay her medical bills after a motorcycle accident successfully sued her husband for damages, says Frenkel & Frenkel.

After her husband's insurance company refused to pay her medical bills, Birdie L. Whithorn of Vancouver, was left no option but to sue her husband for a half million dollars due to an accident he caused in October 2008 where she sustained injuries. A jury awarded Mrs. Whithorn $466,323 in damages, including $291,323 in economic damage and $175,000 in non-economic damage.

The Accident

On October 26, 2008, Mrs. Whithorn was riding on the back of her husband's motorcycle, which he was driving during a group ride. Near an intersection, Kent Whithorn, Mrs. Whithorn's husband, swerved to miss another motorcycle, propelling his wife into the air. Mr. Whithorn testified that he was not paying attention when he almost collided with the other motorcycle, and that the accident was his fault. Mrs. Whithorn required two artificial discs in her spine, a back fusion surgery and two meniscus surgeries on her knees. She may need additional surgeries, according to her doctor.

Insurance Refused Payment

According to Michael Mitchell, an attorney for Farmers Insurance, who insured Mr. Whithorn, the accident was the fault of the other motorcycle driver, who was never identified. The insurance company chose to deny the medical claims as they did not believe Mr. Whithorn was at fault. In Vancouver civil court, whether a party to a lawsuit, whether plaintiff or defendant, has insurance is inadmissible in court. Therefore, the jury could not hear testimony that the insurance company denied the medical payments. Mrs. Whithorn did not have medical insurance, and suing her husband was the only option available to her to cover her medical bills.

Confusion Among Jurors

The Whithorn's attorney, Don Jacobs, explained that because it is inadmissible to mention insurance in court, jurors are often confused as to why a spouse would sue another spouse. In essence, he says, many jurors believe suing a spouse is the same as suing the plaintiff themselves. Mr. Jacobs said that this is the second such case he has tried, with the other ending in a mistrial over ten years ago in Portland.

When an insurance company denies a valid claim for damages, a legal case may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free consultation regarding a denied insurance claim that should have been paid.