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Underinsured Motorist Case Headed Back to County Court

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell sent an underinsured motorist case back to Beaver County Court of Common Pleas according to an article in the Legal Intelligencer.

The lawsuit was filed in the Beaver County Court of Common Pleas in 2013 by William Kapton against Ohio Casualty Insurance.  Kapton was working in a bucket truck along the Pennsylvania Turnpike when an opposing driver rear-ended him.  Kapton was awarded $100,000 which was the policy limit on the opposing driver’s insurance coverage, but he felt he wasn’t compensated enough for his injuries.

His case was moved to federal court in January 2014.

According to the Legal Intelligencer, Kapton felt Ohio Casualty “failed to pay any underinsured motorist benefits, and failed to do so in bad faith.”  Kapton also named the two adjusters, out of Pennsylvania, in the suit and said they “acted with misfeasance,” according to Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL).  Misfeasance is holding someone accountable when they unintentionally cause harm to someone else.

But, the judge in this case said the defendants said their actions could be considered nonfeasance which is a failure to act under an obligation to do so.  It is not illegal under the UTPCPL.

What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is insurance you pay for through your own insurance policy.  This comes into play when an opposing driver causes an accident and the limits on his or her insurance policy do not cover all of the damages.

UIM coverage varies by state.  In West Virginia, insurance companies are required to offer UIM coverage in the amount of $10,000/$20,000/$40,000.  If you live in West Virginia you can also buy UIM coverage to meet the liability coverage limits.

In Ohio, UIM coverage is not required.

If you live in Pennsylvania, UIM coverage is something that you have the option to elect when choosing your policy.

There is also something called Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM), which comes into play when you are in an accident and the person who caused the accident has no insurance.

If you are not sure if you have UIM coverage, just call your insurance agent who can send you a copy of your declarations page which explains what is covered under your auto policy.  Make sure you are fully informed of your options before finalizing your policy.

You should contact a personal injury attorney who can help you obtain compensation for an injury suffered due to an auto accident.