Litigation Expenses are Foreseeable M.G.L. c. 93A Damages

Recently, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has decided that if an insurance company unreasonably delays a reasonable settlement in a personal injury case thereby forcing an injured victim to litigate the case, the insurance company may be responsible for any litigation expenses incurred by the injured person's attorney after the settlement offer should have been made. The reason for the reimbursement of expenses by the insurance company is that such conduct in the failure by an insurance company to settle a claim timely could be construed as a violation of the Massachusetts' Consumer Protection statute, M.G.L.c. 93A.

In Martinez Rivera et al v. Commerce Insurance Company et al, the court held that litigation expenses, such as expert video depositions, fees to certify medical records, and preparation of trial exhibits, were foreseeable c. 93A damages. The court found that an insurance company violated not only c. 93A but also the Bad Faith Insurance statute, M.G.L.c. 176D when it forced the plaintiff to litigate a case until the eve of trial when it finally offered the policy limits.

Such trial preparation expenses, the court found, are foreseeable consequences of the insurance company's failure to timely settle the case. M.G.L.c. 93A also allows for a judge to double or triple the damages. In this case the costs were tripled as penalty against the insurance company.


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