En Español

Car Accident Client Story

Connie Matthews
Car Accident - Confidential Settlement
Property Damage - $2,300 Settlement

A Grandmother Stings Farmers' Insurance in Small Claims Court

Connie Matthews, a 69-year-old grandmother from San Lorenzo, was in a horrible auto accident on the San Leandro (880) Freeway in July 2007. When Farmers Insurance Co. tried bullying her and her attorneys over a few hundred dollars of damaged property, Connie fought back.

Connie had gone on a shopping spree in the days before her accident for her grandson who was about to be married. She bought everything from clothes and towels to little knickknacks and stored them in the trunk of her car. Connie's car was hit by a woman who was trying to pass her on the freeway. Connie's Honda Accord veered off, flipped several times on an embankment and landed back on the freeway.

"It was a mess," she recalls. "All my stuff was strewn all over the freeway. I was lucky to have made it alive. But I lost all the things I'd bought and had in my car."

Connie was indeed lucky to survive the crash. Her pelvis was broken in two places and she had to learn to walk again. Her daughter contacted Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys to represent them. John Bisnar and Supervising Paralegal Marta De La Torre handled Connie's case. They were able to settle the personal injury part of the case, but Farmers absolutely refused to reimburse Connie for the items of personal property that she clearly lost in the crash.

"The evidence was overwhelming," Marta says. "There were photos that showed the trunk had opened during the crash and everything had spilled out."

But the Farmers' insurance adjuster was unrelenting. Even thought they had settled the personal injury portion of the case fairly, he was unwilling to pay Connie the reasonable value of the personal property items that were destroyed in the accident.

"The adjuster was clearly taking advantage of the situation," Marta says. "He was trying to bully Connie and us into taking much less than she was entitled to because they knew it was much too expensive for us to go to trial over a few hundred dollars"

But that's nothing new, she says. Insurance companies do that all the time, especially with property damage claims, according to Marta. To add insult to injury, the adjuster offered Connie a measly $200.

"We weren't even asking them to cover other things she had lost in the accident, such as her eyeglasses and a number of CDs," Marta said. "All we were asking for was $500, to cover the items she had bought from the store and lost in the crash."

But the Farmers adjuster didn't budge and Connie and Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys were not willing to be taken advantage of even though there was no real economically viable way for the law firm to pursue Connie's rights.

"How could that man not see all the clothes hangers, plastic bags and towels strewn about on the hillside?" Connie asked. "I was so mad. This man just wasn't being very nice. He was rude and demeaning and wasn't going to give me anything for my losses."

Marta says she even tried to reason with the Farmers' adjuster.

"I tried telling him that women do this all the time," she said. "We shop for days and leave stuff in the trunk for a few days. That's exactly what Connie did. She was shopping for her grandson's wedding. Why was this so hard to understand?"

Finally, when nothing seemed to get through, the Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys team decided it would be in Connie's best interest to go to small claims court where justice is quick and inexpensive. Marta discussed the idea with Connie and then helped her with the process.

"We advise our clients sometimes in property damage cases to go to small claims court, where they can effectively and economically have their case heard," Marta said. "In Connie's case, we thought the evidence was very clear. The photos showed everything and I believed that was more than enough evidence to convince a judge."

So Connie, accompanied by her daughter, went to small claims court and sat down with the adjuster and a court-appointed arbitrator to deal with the claim. Connie said the arbitrator helped the adjuster understand that the evidence was sufficient to convince a judge. The adjuster finally agreed to pay Connie $2,300 - more than four times of what she had originally requested.

"I could've gone for more, but that meant I needed to go back before the judge and wait for hours," Connie said. "My daughter and I were exhausted and quite satisfied at the time with $2,300. It covered most of what I'd lost."

Connie said she was disgusted by the Farmers Insurance Company and their actions.

"It was educational for me," she said. "All these years, I'd been paying premiums to the auto insurance company hoping that they will be there for me at my time of need. But they didn't want to give me anything."

With Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys taking care of her insurance hassles and paperwork, Connie said, she had the time to physically recover from her considerable physical injuries.

"They were so nice to me," Connie said. "I would refer them to anybody. They genuinely cared about me. I had a birthday last week and they all sent me a real nice card that all of them had signed. That's a special law firm."

This was her first experience dealing with a law firm, Connie said.

"I'd heard horror stories from others who had to deal with attorneys," she said. "But Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys took care of everything for me - medical bills, paperwork and talking to everybody concerned. They also kept me well-informed about what was going on."

Marta always feels good after she helps a client get what they deserve.

"I love helping our clients get what they are entitled to," Marta says. "I can't stand it when an insurance company tries to take advantage of people like Connie. Mr. Bisnar always preaches to us, 'Do the right thing by the client and our rewards will follow.' We just had to be a little more creative in this case and it worked out great."

Our attorneys and paralegals take their cases personally. A win or loss for the client is a win or loss for us. But above all, it's about making things right.

"For me, it's a personal thing," Marta says. "In Connie's case I wasn't asking for anything extra, but I was asking for what she rightfully deserved to get. It's about doing the right thing and sometimes that means, making insurance companies like Farmers do the right thing even when they don't want to."

Have a question that wasn't answered here?

(800) 561-4887

Was This Page Helpful? Yes | No

Client Reviews of Bisnar Chase

“After a bad accident, we were lost on how to handle the insurance agents, the paperwork involved and the claims representatives. We contacted Bisnar Chase and they took care of everything. It gave us the peace of mind we needed to heal. I am very impressed with their level of professionalism and their compassion. We definitely recommend Bisnar Chase.”

by Vanessa Sampson

reviewed at Google+

“We received an email from A.G. Edwards stating they have received the settlement check from Nissan. Once again, I cannot begin to articulate our gratitude to the Bisnar Chase staff - we are so very thankful for all you have done for Josh. As parents, Charlotte and I can rest in peace, when that day comes, knowing that Josh's needs have been taken care of, and his financial future is in good hands with sound financial planners at A.G. Edwards. On December 17, 2003 we received a call from the paramedics stating that Josh and Lisa had been in a severe accident, and we needed to meet them at the emergency room. I remember telling God that I can deal with missing limbs because they can be replaced, but please do not take him from us. A month later we met with members of your staff for the first time, Josh had a traumatic brain injury and his future was looking pretty bleak; we had no idea where he would be eighteen months later. All we could think of at the time was that our son's future, his goals, and dreams had been taken from him so abruptly. As time passed, Josh continued to improve and he began his journey of recovery. Many have been involved in this process, and you and your staff have been an integral part of Josh's recovery, and we will be forever grateful. God has brought so many people into our lives, and we are so very blessed. Numerous emails were sent to Personal Injury Attorney's. John...you were on a ski trip at Big Bear with your family, and you were the only Personal Injury Attorney to respond - I believe this was divine intervention. Josh has a professor from Mt. San Jacinto College who has taken him "under his wing," and is showing him other career possibilities. John, the future looks good for Josh - thank you!”

by K N.

reviewed at Yelp

See All Ratings And Awards

The BISNAR CHASE Difference

  • “I was in a serious auto accident when I was in law school. I had to hire a personal injury attorney and had a really bad experience.”

    John Bisnar

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “If you hire Bisnar | Chase and we don't recover money for you in your case, you owe us absolutely nothing.”

    Brian Chase

    on whether or not you would owe money if your case was lost

  • “Whatever the philosphy of the management is, is going to be carried through by the employees and it’s going to reflect on the experience the clients have.”

    John Bisnar

    on his philosophy on running a law firm

  • “The insurance companies are going to be investigating that accident the day it happens. You need to have a lawyer on your side the day it happens as well.”

    Brian Chase

    on when you should contact an attorney

  • “The first thing we want to do with our clients is to relieve the stress. Make them feel comfortable. Treat them as an honored guest.”

    John Bisnar

    on how he would define superior client representation

  • “It's hard to answer that question right up front without a thorough analysis. What I can guarantee you is, with the resources of Bisnar | Chase we will maximize the value of your case.”

    Brian Chase

    on what your case is worth

Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys
1301 Dove St #120
Newport Beach, CA 92660

local: (949) 203-3814
Get Directions

California Personal Injury Blog