Auto Accident? Don’t Expect Your Insurance Company to Work for You
Eric ChaffinAugust 27, 2012 10:00 AM
If you talk to a personal injury lawyer about car accidents, he will probably tell you that auto insurance companies do not work for their clients. Instead, auto insurance companies care most about the bottom line. That means that they may try to pay a lower settlement on a claim, or not pay the claim at all.
Matt Fisher, a 33-year-old actor/writer from Brooklyn, recently found that out when trying to deal with the tragic death of his sister. Kaitlynn Fisher was killed in a June 2010 car crash in Baltimore when another driver collided with her. During a trial against the other driver, Matt was shocked to discover a representative from Progressive, Kaitlynn’s auto insurance company, sitting with the defendant.
Progressive Seems to Defend Other Driver
The other driver was underinsured. His insurance company settled with Kaitlynn’s estate for $25,000, but Kaitlynn was covered for underinsured drivers up to $100,000. The family expected Progressive would pay the $75,000 balance.
Matt was shocked when Progressive refused to settle. The Fisher family took Progressive to court, but they discovered that under Maryland law it is illegal to sue an insurance company that refuses to pay. The Fisher’s were forced to litigate against the driver who allegedly caused Kaitlynn’s accident.
Matt described in a blog post how during the court proceedings, a representative from Progressive seemed to be defending the other driver. According to the Fisher family’s attorney, it is not unusual for an insurance company to argue against it’s own client in court if the company believes the client was at fault for the accident.
In this case, the attorney stated that Progressive had ample reason to believe Kaitlynn was the victim. Evan Nationwide, the insurance company for the other driver, did not dispute that their client was at fault.
Jury Finds in Favor of Victim’s Family
Progressive stated on their website that they did not serve as an attorney for the defendant in this case. Matt emailed a statement to Consumerist, however, stating that the attorney for Progressive sat next to the defendant, conferred with the defendant, gave an opening statement, in which he proposed that the defendant was not negligent, and questioned all of the witnesses. He also made objections and gave a closing argument.
Regardless of Progressive’s efforts to the contrary, the jury found in favor of Kaitlynn’s family and awarded $760,000 in damages plus costs. Progressive stated that it would “continue to work with the Fisher family to reach a resolution.”