Being involved in even a minor Florida car accident is a stressful experience, but when an accident victim suffers serious injury in an accident the stress can become overwhelming. initially the physical and emotional recovery consume an accident victim’s time and thoughts, but as the body and mind start to heal, financial worries creep into the picture. What sort of medical treatment is going to be needed in the future? How will it be paid for?
Thankfully, Florida accident victims are able to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault party through that party’s insurance carrier. Although Florida law requires a base level of coverage, if the at-fault motorist does not have insurance coverage, then an accident victim will likely be able to file a claim with their own insurance policy under the uninsured motorist clause. Similarly, if an accident victim’s injuries amount to a need for compensation in excess of what is available through the at-fault driver’s policy, a claim under the victim’s underinsured motorist protection clause can help fill the gap.
Dealing with insurance companies, however, is rarely an easy experience. Insurance companies operate on a for-profit model, and are often reluctant to approve a claim for what the accident victim deserves. Indeed, in many cases insurance companies look for ways to deny a claim, or approach a motorist with a low-ball offer in hopes of settling the claim quickly and for as little as possible. A recent case illustrates an insurance companies attempt at avoiding financial liability following a Florida car accident.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff, a minor, was a student who initially lived in Florida, but was attending school in another state. The plaintiff’s parents had an insurance policy that covered the parents and their “relatives.” The policy defined relatives as a related person who “primarily lives” with the parents, or an “unmarried and unemancipated child away at school.”
The plaintiff was involved in a car accident that was caused by another motorist who did not have insurance. The plaintiff filed a claim with her parents’ insurance policy, under the uninsured motorist protection clause. However, the insurance company denied coverage, claiming that the plaintiff had moved away to school and had no intention of moving back to Florida. The court noted that there was conflicting evidence regarding the plaintiff’s intention to return to Florida.
The trial court determined that the plaintiff was covered both as a related person who lived primarily with her parents as well as an “unmarried and unemancipated child away at school.”
The insurance company appealed.
On appeal, the court noted that the evidence presented – although conflicting –did support a finding that the plaintiff was an “unmarried and unemancipated child away at school.” The court explained that, while the trial judge could have ruled the other way and the decision would have been reasonable, there was sufficient evidence to support the court’s finding. Thus, the lower court’s finding was upheld and the plaintiff was determined to be covered under her parents’ policy.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated South Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Cecere Santana Castrillon have extensive experience representing Florida car accident victims and their families in a wide range of personal injury cases, including those presenting issues with difficult insurance companies. Call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today to discuss your case and what avenues of recovery you may be entitled to.
More Blog Posts:
Drunk Driving Accidents in Florida, Cecere Santana Castrillon Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 4, 2018.
Florida Crash Highlights Lack of Enforcement of Agricultural Transportation Laws, Cecere Santana Castrillon Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 11, 2017.