A state appellate court recently issued an opinion in an interesting car accident case. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether a plaintiff’s signed rejection of uninsured motorist (UIM) protection was valid under state law. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s rejection of UIM coverage was valid and the defendant insurance company was not required to cover the plaintiff’s claim.
The case is important for Florida car accident victims because it illustrates the benefits of UIM coverage and the potential problems accident victims can encounter if they do not obtain sufficient UIM coverage.
The Facts of the Case
The opinion was issued as a result of two consolidated cases that presented similar issues. In both cases, the plaintiffs had obtained auto insurance coverage through the defendant insurance company. As is required by state law, the insurance company included UIM coverage as a default coverage. However, the company allowed for customers to opt out of coverage by signing a UIM rejection form.
The plaintiffs signed the UIM rejection form, which explained what UIM coverage was and the potential consequences of not having UIM coverage in the event of an accident. The form did not explain, however, that the UIM benefits would be stacked. The form also only allowed the plaintiffs to accept UIM coverage for all of their covered vehicles or reject it for all of the vehicles.
The plaintiffs were each involved in serious accidents with other drivers who did not have sufficient insurance to cover the plaintiffs’ injuries. The plaintiffs filed claims with their own insurance company, seeking UIM benefits. The insurance company denied benefits based on the signed rejection forms executed by the plaintiffs. The court dismissed the plaintiffs’ respective claims and they each appealed.
The Appellate Decision
After consolidating the plaintiffs’ cases, the court determined that the rejection forms were valid and affirmed the dismissal of their claims. The plaintiffs argued that the form was not a valid rejection because it did not adequately inform them that the benefits would be stacked and that it required all-or-nothing coverage. Essentially, the plaintiffs claimed that their rejection was not valid because they were not fully informed as to what they were giving up by not obtaining UIM benefits.
The court rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments, finding that the insurance company’s failure to inform the plaintiffs about the stacking of the benefits did not render the form invalid. The court also held that requiring all-or-nothing coverage was not improper under state law. Thus, the rejection form was valid and the plaintiffs, having signed it, rejected UIM coverage. Ultimately, the court held that the lower court properly dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim.
Are You Dealing with a Difficult Insurance Company?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida car accident, and are currently dealing with a difficult insurance company, you should contact the South Florida personal injury law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank. At Friedman Rodman & Frank, we represent injury victims in a wide range of Florida personal injury lawsuits, including complex car accident claims involving difficult insurance companies. To learn more about how we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve, call 877-448-8787 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.
More Blog Posts:
Accident Victim’s Failure to Provide Immediate Notice of Case May Preclude Recovery, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 19, 2017.
Used-Car Dealer May Be on the Hook for Injuries Related to Missing Muffler, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 5, 2018.