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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Senior Korean couple filed lawsuit against insurance company

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An elderly Korean-American couple in Northridge sued their insurance company, claiming they were underpaid. [Pixabay]
An elderly Korean-American couple has filed a lawsuit against their insurance company, alleging that it denied them adequate compensation and benefits for their claim.

The wife also requested that she be allowed to act as her husband’s guardian, claiming that his health condition made it impossible for him to carry on a conversation for long periods of time and that he could suddenly lose his temper.

Park Dal-woong, 81, and his wife, Park Seung-ran, 77, both Korean-Americans, filed a lawsuit against California Automobile Insurance Co. in Los Angeles Superior Court on June 1 last year, alleging that the insurer denied them adequate compensation and benefits in connection with a water pipe that burst at their home in Northridge, San Fernando Valley, in early 2022, constituting breach of contract and misrepresentation.

In the complaint, the couple said that the denial of their claim for benefits, which stated that Mr. Park was permanently disabled due to a traumatic brain injury and severe gout, forced them into poor living conditions and caused him to become more irritable and sometimes violent.

The couple’s lawyer told the court on Feb. 14 that it was necessary to appoint his wife, Park Seung-ran, as her husband’s guardian, explaining that the reason for this was because Park’s current mental health condition made it impossible for him to communicate in a sustained manner for any length of time.

The defense also argued that Mr. Park was unable to properly evaluate or judge the settlement offer made by the insurance company in connection with the lawsuit as being in his best interest.

The Parks filed a claim in January 2022 for a burst water pipe, and the insurer offered to pay them $4,000 per month from January 17 to June 15, 2022.

However, the couple said in their complaint that the amount was not enough to maintain the basic lifestyle they had been living. The couple also added that their health had been significantly affected by the prolonged home repairs and living conditions, and that Mr. Park, in particular, had developed a violent temperament with many outbursts that were unfamiliar to his wife and other family members.

“Mr. Park’s wife is having difficulty caring for her husband, who can turn violent at any time,” the complaint said, adding that “she is now experiencing increased anger and depression herself.”

By Byoungil Kim