In February 2014, a man and his son were driving down Route 70 near Toms River when disaster struck. Another vehicle collided with the travelers head-on, causing injuries and property damage. As with many cases like this, the two parties involved wound up in court, however, you may not have expected the victim’s insurance company to be the defendant.
Why a Monmouth County Man Sued His Insurance Company
After the crash, the man driving the other car was soon released from liability. He had a $20,000 policy with GEICO, which paid out. However, the payment from the other driver was far less than the medical costs caused by the crash. The 68-year-old passenger in the car that was struck sustained injuries to his neck and back. Though doctors ruled that he wasn’t a candidate for surgery, the damage that was done severely affected his life.
The 68-year-old, who previously worked remodeling homes, could no longer perform his work due to chronic pain. So, he filed an underinsured motorist claim with his insurance, Allstate, but the company resisted the filing. This led the man to take his insurer to court, where it claimed that the man’s pain was caused by a pre-existing condition and not the car crash. The jury didn’t agree with the defense.
The jury awarded the man and his wife a $1.3 million verdict. However, since the Allstate policy had a $100,000 limit—and the driver of the other car had paid $20,000—the insurer only paid out $80,000. The man also filed an underinsured motorist claim with his son’s insurer New Jersey Manufacturers. NJM chose to take the claim to court separately from the Allstate case, and there’s no word on what the claim limit is for the son’s policy.
Cases like this show how important it is to have under/uninsured motorist coverage with your insurance company. It is often not included in regular coverage, so you should ask your insurance agent about it. This coverage protects you in case the other driver is not able to handle the damages caused in a crash, but simply having this coverage is not enough. It may sometimes be necessary to contact an attorney to represent your interests when filing a UIM/UM claim. For more info, keep following the civil trial attorneys at Keefe Law Firm. We can help you understand your rights.