Insurance companies like to put on a good face in their marketing, explaining that they cover their customers in times of need and help them get back to where they were before their accident. However, make no mistake, insurance companies are for-profit companies that can only survive by taking in more revenue than they pay out in claims. Thus, individual insurance adjusters are motivated to deny even the most meritorious claim, and people who are not denied are often offered low-ball settlement offers to make the claim go away.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that an accident victim is not stuck with what an insurance company offers them. And in cases in which an insurance company denies a claim outright, that is not necessarily the final word on the matter. Courts can, and often do, get involved between accident victims and insurance companies to make sure that the insurance policy is honored.
Insurance policies are contracts, by which the insurance company agrees to compensate the insured for certain expenses and injuries. In the case of motor vehicle insurance, the insurance company agrees to compensate the insured if they are involved in a qualifying accident. This coverage extends not only to the insured but also to anyone injured by the insured. A recent case out of Delaware is a good example of how an insurance company may try to escape paying out a valid claim.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Buckley
In this case, a young girl was struck by a motorist as she was boarding a school bus that was picking her up to take her to school. The girl was waiting at the bus stop and had to cross the street to board the bus. When the bus driver pulled up and indicated for the girl to cross, another motorist disregarded the bus’ signals and struck the girl. Her family sought compensation from the insurance company that insured the bus under the “personal injury protection” clause.
The policy stated that it covered anyone injured while aboard the bus, as well as anyone injured in an accident “involving” the bus. The insurance company tried to evade responsibility by claiming that the accident was between the other vehicle and the young girl, so it didn’t involve the bus. However, the courts saw it differently. The court hearing the case explained that “school busses are different” from other vehicles, and under these facts, the school bus was “involved” in the accident. As a result of the court’s opinion, the girl’s family will be permitted to seek compensation from the bus’ insurance company.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of South Florida motor vehicle accident, insurance companies will likely be involved. While you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, the insurance company insuring you or another party involved may deny or limit coverage, potentially reducing your recovery greatly. An attorney can help you throughout the process by advising you on what your rights are and helping you exercise them. Call the skilled personal injury attorneys at the South Florida law firm of Cohn & Smith at 954-431-8100 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.
Related Blog Posts:
What May Constitute a Florida “Medical Malpractice” Case Can Be Surprising, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, June 3, 2016.
Florida Boating Accidents on the Rise, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, May 19, 2016.