If you tune into our blog, catch our Facebook posts, or read our newsletters, you know how important we believe it is for everyone to carry underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage on their auto insurance policies. It is an even better idea to “stack” these coverages. The attorneys in our Personal Injury Department believe that purchasing this coverage is the best way to protect you and your family if you are ever seriously injured in an auto collision. We fight for this coverage for our clients every day!
While very few cases result in appellate court review, one of my cases has been accepted for review by the highest appellate court in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The case presents an interesting issue: our client paid for stacked underinsured motorist benefits as part of his family auto policy and on a separate motorcycle policy. It sounds simple enough that our client would expect to be able to stack his underinsured motorist coverage under those polices in these circumstances. However, there is an exclusion in the household vehicle insurance policy that the client’s carrier, GEICO, is using to deny payment of those benefits. The dreaded “fine print” is the challenge here!
This case has been through the appeal process at the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which is our state’s intermediate appeals court. Because a similar case was decided by the Superior Court in favor of the insurance carrier and then was taken to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court only to have a “tie vote” of 3 – 3 by the six Justices that then made up the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the case law was not on my client’s side. That meant that the Superior Court decision in my client’s case also went in favor of the insurance company. I filed the paperwork asking for further review of the matter and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted that request. Briefs have been filed and we are now waiting for an oral argument date to make our case before the court.
Stay tuned for the outcome!