Injured woman alleges fraud from insurer in rollover crash

By Carol Ostrow | Jun 22, 2015

A Galveston County woman is suing her automobile insurer, alleging violation of federal and state commerce law.

Tana Burton filed a lawsuit June 19 in Galveston County District Court against United Services Automobile Association (USAA) of Dallas, alleging breach of duty, fraud and infringement of the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act and the Texas insurance code in the aftermath of a serious motor vehicle collision.

According to the complaint, on June 29, 2013, when Tana Burton and Bryce Burton drove northbound into Oklahoma along Interstate Highway 35 in Carter County, Jusden A. Kukowski, driving an 18-wheeler belonging to a hauling company, changed lanes improperly by failing to signal, forcing Burton’s vehicle off the road and causing it to roll over.

The suit says Kukowski, previously convicted of crimes and traffic offenses more than two dozen times in Minnesota alone, with citations including three DWIs in 11 additional states, had been declared “inimical to public safety” in Minnesota, meaning “completely unable to control a vehicle without endangering others.”

The complaint states Tana Burton suffered broken bones and bodily injuries requiring surgery. She accuses USAA of scheming to delay and deny reimbursement for her accident and intimidate her into a settlement, causing distress in addition to her pain, suffering, medical expenses and property damage.

Burton seeks between $100,000 and $200,000, contractual, exemplary and treble damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees, expenses and costs. She is represented by attorney Richard T. Howell Jr. of Buckley, White, Castaneda & Howell in Houston.

Galveston County District Court case number 15-CV-0626.

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