On December 1, 2014, our client was driving with his wife to go to CrackerBarrel for breakfast. Traveling in the left-hand lane going east on Timberlake Road, our client first stopped at the stoplight at Leesville Road when he noticed that the Defendant was looking at what appears to be her phone.
When traffic started moving our client, who was pulling a utility trailer behind his Ford Explorer, signaled a lane change to position himself to enter the bypass exit to get to Wards Road. The Defendant did not begin moving forward when the light turned green giving our client plenty of room to merge.
After he merged, our client stopped for the red light at Timberlake and Wards Ferry Road. The stop light was red, there was another vehicle in front of our client, and our client came to a complete stop.
His wife was looking into the passenger mirror and noticed the vehicle coming towards them at a high rate of speed, not slowing down. Our client’s wife then screamed while bracing for the impact.
The trailer they were pulling behind their vehicle went up into the air causing our client’s vehicle to hit the vehicle in front of him. The cars came to rest in the road.
Our client’s wife checked on him and the people in front as they were out of their vehicle. She then dialed 911 as she was approaching the defendant’s vehicle to check on her. When the officer approached the scene, our client’s wife informed him that she had seen the defendant on her cell phone. The officer stated the defendant said she was giving her infant a bottle and it fell.
The Defendant was driving while distracted. Whether it was a cell phone or an infant’s bottle, distracted driving causes car accidents.
Our client treated for some time for an injury to his neck that will probably require future treatment too. The defendant only had $25,000 in insurance coverage and our client had over $20,000 in medical expenses. We asked for our client’s insurance declaration page and it appeared that our client also only had $25,000 in underinsured motorist coverage.
That did not end our inquiry, though. We also inquired as to whether any other people lived in the household and whether those people had a separate insurance policy. Most people don’t know that a resident household member can qualify as an insured on an insurance policy even though they are not listed as one.
In fact, in this case, our client’s adult son was living in the household had his own insurance policy for $25,000 limits for underinsured coverage. If there are separate policies, these two $25,000 limits can be stacked one on top of the other in order to increase the total underinsured motorist coverage to $50,000. To make things easier, both policies were issued by Nationwide with different named insureds and different policy numbers.
After demanding the policy limits from Progressive, the insurance company for the defendant, we turned our attention to the underinsured motorist carrier, Nationwide. About six months after we made our demand on Nationwide, we were able to obtain the full policy limits for our client. Underinsured motorist coverage applies only to the extent the injured person is underinsured. So Nationwide received a credit for the $25,000 Progressive offer and was responsible to pay the remaining $25,000 for a total settlement of $50,000.
If you are unsure whether you have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for your injuries, come in for a free consultation and let us help you make that determination.
The Virginia State Bar requires that we give a disclaimer whenever we talk about case results. As we are sure you already know, the case result described above must be read in context with the unique facts of this particular case. Each case result depends upon a variety of factors unique to each case, which is why we describe those facts in detail. To be clear, this case result does not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by the lawyers at Osterbind Law, PLLC.