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Paying Out To Accident Victims: How “Progressive” Of You

As a Clearwater personal injury attorney, I continually search the web for interesting content that illustrates the obstacles we regularly deal with. We came upon a story today about a young man who lost his sister in a car accident. That would have left us scratching our heads, except we’ve seen this happen.

Matt Fisher, from Maryland, described how, on June 19, 2010, his sister, Katie, drove through the streets of Baltimore when she was suddenly struck while passing through an intersection.

Based on all witness accounts, Mr Fisher’s sister had a green light and the other driver ran a red light. It appeared that the case was “open-and-shut” since the at-fault party’s insurance carrier settled with his sister’s estate immediately. However, since the other drivers’ insurance did not cover the full amount, his sister’s policy with Progressive should have covered the remaining difference.

However, Progressive Insurance Company refused to pay out the value of the policy.

The Fisher family learned a tough lesson that Progressive would rather take the case to court, present it in front of a jury and hope that they didn’t have to pay, rather than give the coverage that the, now deceased, Katie Fisher had paid for.

The hits don’t stop coming though. In Maryland, one cannot sue an insurance company directly when they refuse to pay up. Instead, families are forced to sue the other person involved in the accident. They’re forced to relive the gruesome details of their family members’ death in order to establish the other party’s negligence in order to force the insurance carrier to pay the policy.

In Katie’s case, the Fisher family received a few settlement offers. As Fisher reports, none of those amounts were greater than a third of what they owed. The family did the only thing that they could: take the case to court.

And for the final kicker and the reason this case caught our attention. At trial, the driver who killed Katie was defended by none other than Progressive’s legal team. Yes, you read that right. The company who refused to pay out for the services that Katie Fisher paid for was now representing the person who killed her.

Progressive released a statement after Mr. Fisher told his sister’s story. They state, “To be very clear, Progressive did not serve as the attorney for the defendant in this case. He was defended by his insurance company, Nationwide.”

Fisher responded with a follow-up, showing a screenshot from the Clerk of Court’s file on the case with the name of an attorney who worked for the “Law Offices of Progressive Casualty Insurance.” Matt  went on to describe that the attorney in question conferred with the defendant, cross-examined plaintiff’s witnesses, and made opening and closing statements in front of the jury.

Matt took this as an opportunity to educate consumers about the acts of one insurance company, but we at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA feel that this is an opportunity to see the cogs and wheels of the insurance industry.

We can’t comment on the factual accuracy of this case or story. However, It is a chance to call for transparency when it comes to who’s footing the bill for legal representation. It is an opportunity to force these companies to do what they promised, for people like Katie Fisher: compensate families to alleviate financial burdens after losing a loved one. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we regularly litigate auto accident and motorcycle injury claims statewide against a large body of insurance carriers including giants like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, Geico and Nationwide. If you have been physically injured as a result of negligence exhibited by an individual or corporation, it is unwise to go it alone. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is your Clearwater personal injury law firm.