Court Hears Case Involving Insurance Company’s Denial of Coverage Based on Victim’s Conflicting Testimony

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents a valuable lesson to Florida car accident victims. The case involves an accident victim’s conflicting testimony and how courts resolve such conflicts. Ultimately, the court determined that it would be improper to credit either of the plaintiff’s statements, and it sent the case to a jury for resolution.

The Facts of the Case

In 2015, the plaintiff was injured when her vehicle was struck by another driver. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against that driver but later found out that he did not carry auto insurance. Thus, the plaintiff added the name of her father’s insurance company to the case, claiming that she was covered under the policy’s uninsured motorist protection.

After the plaintiff filed the claim, the insurance company sent the plaintiff a list of questions. When answering the questions, the plaintiff stated that she lived with her three children. She also stated that her father lived across the street.

About 10 months later, the plaintiff filed a supplemental affidavit, seeking to clarify her living situation. In the affidavit, the plaintiff explained that she was confused about the previous question and that her father had actually lived with her since 2013.

The insurance company denied coverage, explaining that the policy only covered the plaintiff’s father and “resident relatives.” And since the plaintiff initially admitted that she did not live with her father at the time of the accident, she would not qualify as a resident relative and thus was not covered under the policy.

The trial court initially resolved the case in the plaintiff’s favor and found that she was covered under her father’s policy. The insurance company appealed.

On appeal, the court reversed the decision and sent the case to a jury to decide whether the plaintiff was covered under the policy. The court explained that a party cannot “erase” the effect of previous, unfavorable, conflicting testimony simply by disavowing it. In fact, the court stated that, as a general rule, a court “must construe conflicting testimony against” the person making it, unless they present a reasonable explanation.

Here, the court explained that even if there was a reasonable explanation, the plaintiff’s initial response cannot be erased and remains on the record. That being the case, the court held, there was a material issue of fact regarding whether the plaintiff lived in the same household as her father, and the case should be submitted to a jury for resolution.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing victims and their families in cases against those responsible for their injuries. We offer free consultations to discuss your case, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule your free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Discusses Official Government Immunity in Recent Wrongful Death Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 19, 2017.

Appellate Court Discusses the Government’s Responsibility to Maintain Safe Roadways, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 5, 2018.

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