Here in Seattle, when someone is injured in a car accident with an underinsured motorist, it is generally possible to obtain compensation from your own insurance company. However, insurance companies often put up fights, or simply shortchange victims, when these claims are filed. This is why it is often important for victims to work with a car accident attorney who will stand up for their rights.
In a case that was just settled yesterday, Progressive insurance originally not only failed to pay the underinsured motorist claim to the family of a woman who was killed in a car accident, but the company even went so far as to defend the other driver--who was not a Progressive customer--in court.
The case involved the family of a Maryland woman who was killed in an auto collision in 2010 after being struck by an underinsured driver. The woman's insurance policy was to provide her beneficiaries $100,000 in the event that this would happen.
The other driver's insurance company paid the woman's family $25,000, but Progressive declined to pay the remaining $75,000.
As the family's only method of recourse, they then sued the driver in court; if the driver was found to be at fault by a court, then Progressive would likely be forced to pay out the claim.
The victim's brother was astounded when Progressive showed up on the defendant's side of the courtroom and argued that he was not at fault for the crash. The brother took to his blog Monday to let out his anger at the fact that his sister's insurance company was defending the person who was responsible for her death in order to get out of paying a claim.
The post went viral and generated a lot of negative publicity for Progressive, who then finally settled the case for an unreported amount Thursday.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for insurance companies to do whatever they can to avoid paying claims like these. Working with experienced car accident attorneys can help to keep these companies honest. Victims of car accidents should be focusing on their health, or spending time grieving the loss of a loved one, not wasting their energy fighting with the very insurance company to which they gave their business.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Progressive settles with family of woman killed in Baltimore after social media firestorm," Chris Korman, Aug. 17, 2012
- Our Seattle area firm handles cases like the one detailed in this blog post. For more information about our car accident practice, please visit our website.