Lawsuit: USAA insurance company allegedly acted in bad faith when investigating disabling crash

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jun 6, 2018

PHILADELPHIA – A motorist who suffered severe knee and back injuries in an accident in Northeast Philadelphia claims that the policyholder’s insurance failed to evaluate the resultant claim and acted in bad faith.

Delores A. Gooden of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on May 22 versus United Services Automobile Association (doing business as “USAA”), of San Antonio, Texas.

On Sept. 2, 2015, Gooden was the permissive operator of a 1998 Honda Accord (owned by Deon A. Taylor) driving north on Roosevelt Boulevard, approaching its intersection with Rising Sun Avenue in Philadelphia. At that point, Gooden’s vehicle was in the extreme right lane when the vehicle broke down, leading the plaintiff to activate the emergency flashers, the suit says.

However, Gooden’s vehicle was soon hit from behind by a vehicle whose operator failed to stop, left the scene and whose identity and pertinent information regarding the vehicle is unknown to the plaintiff, the suit says. Though the plaintiff is not the policyholder, the vehicle was covered by a policy from USAA which included, among other things, uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $100,000/$300,000, the suit says

As a result of the collision, Gooden suffered both back and knee injuries, disability and loss of function, and the suit says is due amounts which may exceed the recoverable sum limits and those outlined in the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, the suit says.

“On Oct. 27, 2015, counsel for plaintiff advised USAA of plaintiff’s intent to pursue an uninsured motorist claim. Plaintiff has fully complied with all terms and conditions required under USAA’s policy. USAA failed to objectively and fairly investigate and evaluate the plaintiff’s claim, has failed to offer prompt payment of the reasonable and fair value of the claim and has refused to make a reasonable offer of settlement,” the suit states.

Furthermore, the plaintiff claims “USAA has breached its fiduciary, contractual and statutory obligation to investigate, evaluate and negotiate plaintiff’s underinsured motorist claim in good faith and to arrive at a prompt, fair and equitable settlement.”

For breach of contract, the plaintiff is seeking damages not in excess of $50,000, together with interest and costs.

The plaintiff is represented by John A. Lord of Silvers Langsam & Weitzman, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180502223

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas USAA Group

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