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Bigger settlement awarded to overweight crash victim

Crash victim blamed State Farm for withholding settlement money

An accident victim will be getting more money from an insurance company after it said it used her weight in considering her claim and awarded her less than the maximum under the policy.

Her attorney, Adam Cortez, said an adjuster originally told him that his client is overweight and that is why the policy maximum was not being offered.

On Monday Maria Vasquez, who is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds, complained to the Defenders after hearing that.

She said the company was discriminating against her. Now the company has offered her the maximum allowed under its policy.

"I guess they saw the story and felt a little bit of heat on themselves," Vasquez said. "I think State Farm realized that they couldn't get away with using that as an excuse to not pay out."

Cortez said the new settlement was not only good for his client but for the State Farm policy holder.

"If I'd have gone to trial and gotten $50,000 over their policy limits, that 18-year-old who ran the red light and caused this accident would be liable for the $50,000," Cortez said. "All we're asking is that an insurance company honor its agreement with its insured so that that insured doesn't get exposed to liability."

State Farm would not comment about the reasons behind the settlement increase, except to say in an email that each claim is settled on its merits.

Jim Camoriano went on to write "...as more information is received during the claim process, it is evaluated and may affect the claim resolution."

Cortez said this is an important victory.

"When insurance companies don't pay claims that's not being conservative or doing the right thing, it's exposing their insured to liability," Cortez said. "You don't want to be the person whose insurance company didn't pay because they thought someone was overweight or unattractive or for whatever ridiculous illegal reason and you have to pay out of your pocket when you'd already paid your insurance company to protect you."

Vasquez said this is good news for people who aren't the perfect weight.

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