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Woman gets $4K in punitives on bad faith claim against carrier

A Hampton Roads woman who brought a bad-faith claim against her insurance company has won payment of her medical bills, along with attorney’s fees and $4,000 in punitives.

According to a Verdicts & Settlements Report filed by Virginia Beach lawyer Sandra L. Sampson, a woman hurt in a car wreck incurred more than $24,000 in medical bills.

She had $10,000 in insurance coverage with USAA. Sampson said that after numerous requests for payment and denials, she filed suit for breach of contract. The claim included a request for punitive damages under Virginia Code § 8.01-66.1, the bad faith statute.

Sampson said that after suit was filed, the company offered to pay the bills, in exchange for withdrawing the punitives claims.

The plaintiff refused.

Sampson said that after trial and the submission of briefs to the court, the company offered to pay the bills and $500 in attorney’s fees.

The plaintiff refused.

Virginia Beach General District Judge Calvin R. DePew Jr. ruled in the plaintiff’s favor, awarding her 100 percent of the remaining bills, $1,500 in attorney’s fees and $4,000 in punitive damages.

The total verdict was $13,187.

Sampson noted in the V&S Report that the company has elected not to contest the award.

– By Paul Fletcher


  1. USAA recently stonewalled a client of mine in a medpay claim, and I too had to file a bad faith suit. After filing suit, USAA offered to pay the full amount of the bills, and my client didn’t want to deal with the matter any longer and accepted. Perhaps this is how USAA does business when it comes to medpay claims. Kudos to Ms. Sampson for her excellent result.

  2. Kudos to Sandra Sampson for sticking to her guns and getting this result.

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