Beaumont man sues State Farm over wreck

Kelly Holleran May 23, 2011, 10:46am

A Beaumont man claims his insurance company refuses to pay him for damages he sustained in an automobile collision with an uninsured driver.

Brian Abel filed a lawsuit May 4 in Jefferson County District Court against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and its employee, Neil Langford.

In his complaint, Abel claims Billy Joe Chanley collided with him on Oct. 14. At the time of the collision, Chanley had no insurance, according to the complaint.

Because of the collision, Abel sustained physical pain and mental anguish and lost earnings, the suit states. In addition, he suffered damage to his earning capacity, experienced disfigurement and physical impairment, incurred medical costs and suffered property damages, the complaint says.

Abel blames Chanley for causing the collision, saying Chanley negligently failed to maintain a proper lookout, failed to timely apply his brakes, failed to drive in a safe manner, failed to control his speed and failed to maintain control of the vehicle.

At the time of the accident, Abel had an insurance policy through defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. The policy included a provision that should have protected Abel if he was struck by an uninsured driver, according to the complaint.
Immediately following the collision, Abel filed a claim for benefits with State Farm. However, State Farm refused to pay Abel's claims, the suit states.

Abel alleges breach of contract against State Farm. Abel claims both State Farm and its employee, Langford, engaged in a number of illegal practices, such as knowingly misrepresenting facts that apply to policy revisions, failure to timely acknowledge pertinent claims, failure to adopt reasonable standards for prompt investigations of claims, failure to attempt to provide a fair settlement and failure to maintain required information.

In his complaint, Abel seeks actual, punitive and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Matthew C. Matheny of Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing him.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D189-943

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