Georgia’s High Court Says Geico Must Pay $2.7M for Failure to Settle

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Geico’s attorneys argued that the plain language of the policy required Winslett to inform Geico of the claim within 30 days and that when she did not do so; her actions released Geico from any obligation to provide coverage or settle the claim.

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According to the pleadings, it was three months after the February 2012 collision, that Guthrie’s attorney sent Geico a Demand Letter asking it to pay the $30,000 policy limit to settle the claim, within 30 days. However, Geico counter-offered $12,409, and Guthrie’s attorneys did not respond.

At trial, the judge entered a $2.9 million dollar default judgment against Winslett, who did not contest the lawsuit brought by Guthrie. Geico attempted to set aside the judgment after it was informed of it by Guthrie’s lawyers.

When Guthrie came to collect on her judgment, Winslett was forced to file for bankruptcy. However, upon further review of the case, Winslett’s bankruptcy trustee, Fife Whiteside, decided to sue Geico in the Middle District of Georgia, resulting in the $2.7 million verdict.