We concluded a case which resulted in settlements totalling $150,000 for an injured truck driver.
Our client was driving a load from New Jersey to Oregon when he was rear-ended on the expressway outside Cellular Field by a passenger vehicle. The client completed his trip, and returned home to receive medical care for injuries to his neck which included an unoperated herniated cervical disc.
The at-fault driver carried $25,000 in liability coverage through Progressive, and we eventually received a policy limits offer on his behalf. Knowing that tractor-trailer carry significantly more in liability insurance coverage, we decided to examine whether there was underinsured motorist coverage available to compensate the client for his injuries.
We obtained a copy of the policy which was written for the client’s Oregon-based trucking policy, and the declarations page of the policy stated that there was only $25,000 in underinsured motorist coverage. If that were true, the client would not be able to collect any additional compensation. However, upon closer examination of the policy, we saw that where his employer rejected having underinsured motorist coverage limits equal the liability limits of $1 million, the insurance policy used a Washington state form rather than an Oregon form. After doing some legal research, we believed that use of the Washington form did not comply with the requirements of Oregon law, and if so, the selection of the lower limit for uinderinsured coverage was invalid and therefore, the client could seek compensation on the undersinsured motorist coverage for up to $1 million.
We filed suit against the insurance company, asking the court to find that there was an error in setting policy limits for the underisnured coverage at $25,000 and ordering the insurance company to provide up to $1 million in underinsured motorist coverage. The trial court agreed with us earlier this year, and ordered the insurance company to provide up to $1 million in underisnured motorist coverage. The insurance company appealed, and while we were defending our victory on appeal, the insurance company agred to settle the entire claim for a payment of an additional $125,000, meaning that the client received a total of $150,000 in compensation for his injuries.
We are very proud of the extraordinary result we achieved for the client in this case.