Insurers can Turn From Friend to Foe in an Instant

Insurers can Turn From Friend to Foe in an Instant | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

Most people expect insurance to help them in times of trouble, but a recent car insurance debacle may suggest otherwise. In order to get the money you deserve for accident related injuries it may take a bit more prodding than it ought to. Our auto accident attorneys are experts when it comes to securing full compensation from insurers.

Following a fatal car accident in July of 2010 injured parties began reaching out to car insurers to cover costs from the accident. Almost immediately the individuals reaching out to the insurers realized that all parties involved in the case used the same insurance company, Progressive. The main parties in conflict were the parents of a deceased female driver, and another man who sustained injury as a driver of a separate vehicle involved in the wreck. As the parties worked through what remedies might be available under the applicable insurance policies they began to debate who was at fault in the accident.

Three parties claimed that the deceased woman was at fault for running a red light (the injured driver, a police officer, and a bystander), while an unrelated eyewitness, and the parents of the deceased claimed she could not have been at fault. The insurance company sought out the cheap escape. By siding with those who believed the deceased was at fault, the insurance company could rely on nuances in some of the involved policies to cap the amount they would pay out.

The discrepancy about payable money stemmed from the fact that the injured driver carried minimal $25,000 liability coverage, whereas the deceased woman carried a policy with $100,000 of underinsured motorist coverage. Depending on who was determined to be at fault for the accident different sums would be paid out. If the deceased woman was at fault that would allow the insurer to pay out the smallest amount possible from the $100,000 policy. 

When the family of the deceased woman began to protest the allegation that their daughter was at fault the insurer literally went to court against them. The family sued the other driver involved and the insurer got involved as an adverse party by filing a motion to intervene. That motion essentially is the insurer telling the court that it has a vested interest in the outcome of the case in such a way that it should be allowed to get involved in the court proceedings.

The motion allowed an attorney for the insurer to go to court side by side with the injured driver who carried $25,000 of liability coverage. The purpose of going to court over this accident was to determine specifically who was at fault for the accident. Proof of who was at fault would solidify the allocation of insurance payouts due to injured or deceased parties.

According to a New York Times report the family of the deceased woman wanted to go to court to clear her name rather than to secure a higher insurance payout. The family felt their daughter never would drive recklessly and thus they did not want her name associated with fault in an auto accident.

Ultimately the family prevailed and cleared their daughter’s name. On top of the personal triumph for family members, the case now also acts as a positive reminder to the public that you should not be afraid to demand what is fair from an insurer. Insurance companies can be very difficult to work with. If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident you should contact our Pintas & Mullins Law Firm legal team today. We will work diligently alongside you to make sure you receive fair treatment and maximum compensation for your injuries.