On 12 August 2003, a Staten Island woman, who was insured by a certain insurance company, was involved in a motor vehicle accident. She was driving her van when she made a left turn directly into the path of a motorcycle operated by a certain man. The impact caused the operator of the motorcycle (the victim) to be ejected and landed about nineteen feet away. Thereafter, the Manhattan police and paramedics arrived and the victim was taken to the hospital, and it was determined that he sustained serious injuries. The victim stayed in the hospital for thirteen days, and was later transferred to a nursing home.
After the said incident had occurred, the aforesaid woman immediately reported the car accident to her insurance company. In response, the insurance company assigned someone to handle the claim (the agent), who spoke generally about the accident with the said woman (the insured woman); ascertained that neither the insured nor her daughter, who was in the van with the woman at the time of the accident, was injured; advised her that she had $10,000 coverage limits, that is, $10,000 in property damage coverage and $10,000 in bodily injury coverage; and concluded that the insured was probably at fault in causing the accident. After that, the agent assigned attempted to call the victim, who was still in the hospital, but was unable to reach him. The agent then ordered an appraisal of the victim’s motorcycle and assigned that portion of the damage claim to the insurance company’s claim service center in Virginia.
On 18 August 2003, the insurance agent received a call from an attorney (lawyer-one), who indicated that he was representing the victim. However, ten days later, lawyer-one notified the agent that he was no longer representing the victim and provided him with a notice of his attorney’s lien.