Court Requires Insurance Company to Extend Coverage to Out-of-State Student in Recent Car Accident Case

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida car accident case involving an out-of-state student who was listed as a driver on her parents’ Florida insurance policy. The case required the court to determine if the insurance company’s refusal to cover the accident was proper under the insurance contract. Ultimately, the court parsed the language of the insurance policy and determined that the plaintiff should be covered under her parents’ policy.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was originally a resident of Florida but attended college out of the state. Although she had moved away, the plaintiff remained as a listed driver on her parents’ insurance policy. The policy covered both parents as well as the parents’ relatives. As many contracts do, the policy defined the term “relative” to mean either a related person who lived with the parents or an unmarried and un-emancipated minor who is away at college.

While away at school, the plaintiff was involved in a car accident. The accident was undisputedly the fault of the other motorist. However, that motorist did not have car insurance. Thus, the plaintiff filed a claim with her parents’ insurance policy under the uninsured motorist protection clause.

The insurance company, however, rejected the plaintiff’s claim, determining that she did not meet the definition of a “relative” under the policy. The plaintiff filed a case in a Florida court, asking the court to enforce the insurance contract and require the insurance company to approve her claim.

The trial court considered the evidence on both sides and ultimately determined that the plaintiff met both definitions of a “relative” under the policy. The court acknowledged that there was conflicting evidence regarding the plaintiff’s intention to move back to Florida after the completion of her college education, but it ultimately resolved the coverage issue in the plaintiff’s favor. The insurance company appealed to a higher court.

On appeal, the case was affirmed based on the fact that, although the evidence was conflicting, the trial court did have before it sufficient evidence to arrive at its conclusion. The court noted that the evidence would likely have supported a decision in either party’s favor, but since an appellate court’s job is not to second guess the reasonable decisions of a lower court, the appellate court upheld the lower court’s finding.

Have You Been Injured in a South 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. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, you may receive compensation for your past and future medical expenses and lost wages, as well as for any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. To learn more, and to speak with a dedicated South Florida personal injury attorney about your case, call 877-448-8585 to schedule your free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice Case Against Pharmacy Following Medication Error, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 26, 2017.

Court Finds Question of Whether Defendant Had Knowledge of Dangerous Condition Was a Matter for the Jury, Rejecting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 5, 2018.

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