A New York woman was still reeling from the death of her 71-year-old mother -- tragically struck by a car as she crossed the street -- when she received a letter from the driver’s insurance company. A note of condolence, perhaps? Not quite: The company demanded the woman pay more than $6,000 for damages to the 2012 BMW that killed her mother.
Daniel Flanzig, attorney for the victim's daughter, Monica, who asked that her last name not be used, told The Huffington Post, “this was not just a form letter issued by an insurance company, but rather a conscious decision by the company to get their money back from this family for the damage to their insured's vehicle, damage that was caused by striking and killing Anna.”
"I was shocked," Monica told the New York Post, adding, "she wasn't just my mom, she was my best friend."
Anna Cedeno, a retired seamstress and grandmother of four, was killed in April in Westbury, NY, while headed to a bus on her way home from Costco. The driver, physical therapist Sherrie Glasser-Mayrsohn, stayed on the scene and was not charged in the death, Newsday reported. Officials laid blame on Cedeno for not crossing at a crosswalk or a traffic light.
Nevertheless, Monica contacted Flanzig to sue Glasser-Mayrsohn for negligence. But before a lawsuit could be filed, she received a letter from PURE, the driver's insurance company, five months after Cedeno's death:
“Our investigation shows that your client was responsible for the accident,” the letter began. "We now look forward to your client’s estate for payment of the damages to our policyholder’s vehicle."
The payment? $6,245.09.
When questioned about the letter by a Post reporter, PURE replied:
“Our sympathies go out to the family and loved ones of Ms. Cedeno ... [as] company policy, as well as due to the extremely sensitive nature of this tragedy, we are reluctant to go into great detail about the circumstances of an open claim. We can confirm it would not be our policy to pursue recovery of damages in a case like this. We acknowledge that a letter was written and sent by an otherwise excellent claims professional ... that created the impression that reimbursement would be pursued even if there was no applicable insurance. This runs counter to our position, and [the claims professional] should not have written the letter.’’
But Flanzig -- who says he hasn't received this response from PURE -- isn't swayed by the explanation. "You would think that any reasonable and sympathetic company would leave this one alone and accept it as a loss and not try to collect from a grieving family," he told The Huffington Post.
(h/t The Consumerist)