The answer is maybe – if you have Uninsured/Underinsured motorist “UM” coverage. In Florida, UM coverage is supposed to protect the policyholder when they are involved in an automobile accident with an at-fault driver that does not have any bodily injury insurance or not enough to cover the injuries the policyholder sustained.
When an event such as the above occurs, the policyholders’ UM coverage is supposed to take effect and cover the injuries sustained by the policyholder (up to the policy limits of the UM coverage). In many circumstances, when a policyholder makes a claim for UM Coverage, their insurance company and its attorneys attempt to minimize the policyholder’s injuries in order to avoid having to pay the full value of their policyholders injuries. In many instances, when a UM case goes to trial, their insurance company may appear to the jury to be protecting and/or representing the driver that injured the policyholder. Their insurance company's attorneys will be sitting at the defendant's table in court and likely arguing why the other driver was not at fault or why the policyholder did not sustain injuries in the motor vehicle collision.
Recently, Progressive Insurance Company has received a lot of negative media attention as a result of a motor vehicle accident which resulted in the death of a young woman. The at-fault driver did not have enough insurance to compensate the family of the young woman, so the family attempted to use the young woman’s UM coverage to cover additional damages sustained as a result of the motor vehicle accident.
Unfortunately, Progressive did not pay out the policy limits of their UM coverage to the family. Therefore, the family had to file a lawsuit in an attempt to recover the UM benefits that the young woman had previously paid with her own premiums. The case went to trial and the family had to relive the accident and how their daughter passed away. An in-house attorney for Progressive sat at the at-fault defendant’s table and argued to the jury why the at-fault driver was not at fault and why the young woman was. Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the young woman and her family and against Progressive.
Here is the link to Matt Fisher’s blog, the brother of the young woman that passed away. In it, he details his experiences with Progressive.
Also, check out Progressive’s response to Mr. Fisher’s blog. Of interest is the comment section to Progressive’s response and the outrage from consumers regarding Progressive’s handling of this matter.
What many consumers don’t realize is that Progressive’s actions are very common today in the insurance industry. Although most insurance companies market themselves as "protecting" their policyholders, in many instances these same insurance companies end up fighting their policyholder to avoid paying an insurance policy. In some extreme instances, insurance companies have even tried to criminally prosecute their own policyholders. The only way to change how insurance companies handle these claims is with their voices and wallets. Has anyone else had bad experiences with their own automobile insurance company after being injured?
Born and raised in Rochester, Michigan, Thomas Dennis focuses on representing those who have been harmed by the negligence or wrongful conduct of others in the State of Florida. Specializing in wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and insurance disputes, Mr. Dennis is experienced in many areas of personal injury law.