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August 29, 2017

The Insurance Industry Quick-Hit Settlement

If you’ve been in a collision and it was someone else’s fault, odds are very good that you will hear from the at-fault driver’s insurance company as soon as possible. It’s a tactic that is happening more and more in Arizona. This is done for a variety of reasons: (1) the insurance company would like […]


Firefighter’s Widow Denied Benefits

When you work forty hours per week, fifty-two weeks out of the year, you are considered a full-time employee, right?  Although in most cases the answer to this question is “yes,” unfortunately in some instances employees working these hours throughout the year would be denied full-time status by their employer.

One individual who worked forty hours a week throughout the year for the City of Prescott, Arizona, was considered a “seasonal” employee.  Andrew Ashcraft was one of the nineteen “hotshot” firefighters who died in the tragic Yarnell wildfire in late June of this year.  His widow Juliann and her four children were denied lifetime benefits by the city of Prescott because her late husband was considered a seasonal employee when he lost his life in that fire, a fire which was the deadliest wild land blaze for firefighters in eighty years.

Unfortunately for the Ashcraft family and the other twelve families of the deceased firefighters, the city of Prescott says it has" “complied with the laws and employment policies that direct survivor benefits.”  According to the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), “the FLSA does not define full-time employment or part-time employment… this is a matter generally to be determined by the employer.”

The city of Prescott claims that Andrew  Ashcraft and twelve other members of the fire fighting team were employed as seasonal employees, which disqualified them from the benefits for bereaved families of full-time city employees.  Ashcraft was the only firefighter in that hotshot crew who had been working forty hours per week throughout the year who was considered a seasonal employee by the city and thus his family was denied survivor benefits. 

The nineteen hotshot families will receive worker’s compensation benefits and a one-time federal government payment of $328,000.

The unexpected death of a loved one is a very emotional, tragic time in a person’s life.  When you have gone through such a challenging, heart wrenching  experience and  have lost the wage earner in your family, you expect your insurance company to assist you in getting through this difficult time by providing the survivorship benefits you and your family deserve. 

Unfortunately there are times when insurance companies do not honor life insurance policies and deny  or delay paying survivor benefits.  When an insurance company may be violating Arizona’s Insurance Bad Faith Law, contact an experienced Arizona insurance bad faith attorney to fight for the benefits you deserve.

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