Nov28

The Tom Gargiulo Story

Palm Coast Water Front Park with artwork and sculpture.Tom Gargiulo & Arlene Volpe have been together for more than forty years.  They moved to Palm Coast in 1994 to retire in the sunshine and warm weather. Instantly, they became a leader in the Palm Coast and Flagler County Arts Community, where their foundation, the Gargiulo Art Foundation supports numerous artists.  Tom has worked closely with the foundation artists over the years to create many beautiful works of art. As part of his philanthropy, Tom and Arlene improved the Palm Coast Water Front Park with artwork and sculpture.

As part of his life, Tom loved to exercise everyday by riding his bike more than 15-20 miles per day and swimming on a daily basis as well. Most of Tom’s friends and family were amazed by his youth, stamina and energy.

That all changed on August 5, 2014, when Tom was a struck by a car while riding his bike on Pine Lakes Parkway.  Emergency crews rushed Tom via ambulance first to Florida Hospital Flagler where it was determined his injuries warranted a trauma facility. A second ambulance then transported him to Halifax Medical Center under a trauma alert. Tom suffered various fractures to his spinal column which resulted in significant pain and partial paralysis.  Fortunately, Tom’s fantastic health and ability to exercise through the pain, helped in his recovery.  Most frustrating to Tom was the rehabilitation needed to learn to walk again. Tom spent three months in the hospital recovering from his injuries and re-gaining the use of his legs, arms and hands.

After approximately two years of vigorous medical treatment and rehab; Tom is back exercising in a limited capacity; leading the Arts Community, and enjoying life with his love Arlene.  That is the good side of the story.

Unfortunately, Tom’s insurance chose to fight Tom in his financial recovery from the accident.  Despite the horrific injuries and medical bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the insurance company refused to pay its policy limits.  Policy limits for which Tom and Arlene had paid premiums on. In fact, the insurance company only offered a fraction of the policy limits to Tom as compensation for his permanent injuries, pain and suffering during rehabilitation, and his enormous medical expenses.

On behalf of Tom and Arlene, Chiumento Selis Dwyer, P.L. was forced to file a lawsuit against the insurance company.  After months of litigation, the insurance company ultimately tendered its full policy limits just prior to the trial being set.  As it turned out, the insurance company paid more than twice the amount they initially offered to Tom and Arlene.

Tom’s case is a classic example of forcing an insurance company to do what’s right for the consumer rather than what is in the insurance company’s best economical interest.  In addition to recovering from the insurance company, Chiumento Selis Dwyer, P.L. worked with Tom’s doctors, the hospitals, and health insurance companies to minimize and lower all of the bills incurred during his two year recovery.

We were blessed to have the opportunity to help Tom and Arlene. Moreover, we are blessed to have met them and now call them friends. We wish them both all the happiness in the world as they continue to contribute to the community’s culture, as they enjoy their retirement, and most importantly, their family.