employee’s insurance claim denied

Discover Property and Casualty Insurance Company was ordered by a Texas court to pay a San Antonio tree worker after the insurance company delayed payment for rehabilitative job training.  The worker, Charles Tate, an apartment supervisor, fell while trimming trees with a chainsaw at a San Antonio apartment complex.  After filing a claim for vocational benefits, Tate’s employer delayed paying him for his vocational retraining.

The jury found that the insurance company and the insurance company’s third party administrator knowingly engaged in an unfair and deceptive act.  On at least six occasions, the Texas Department of Insurance’s workers’ compensation division agreed with the injured employee, who suffered severe neck and shoulder injuries that made physical tasks impossible.  The agency ruled that he had a right under the law to have the insurance company pay for him to be retrained as a real estate agent, a career he wanted to pursue.

Of the $70 million verdict, $20 million was awarded for past and future mental anguish, $20 million in attorneys fees and $30 million in punitive damages.