An injured party in an accident cannot get double dip insurance coverage if they call the payment from the other driver’s insurance “punitive damages.” The Georgia appeals court said this.
The Fifth Division of the Appeals Court said that Allstate is not responsible for paying for punitive damages from Laura Cochran Nay’s accident because she is considered an uninsured motorist by them.
Georgia law requires insurance companies to offer double-dip uninsured motorist coverage. The two types are excess or add-on coverage, which pays more than what is covered by the other driver’s insurance. Nay chose traditional UM coverage from Allstate, so the amount paid was reduced by the other driver’s double dip insurance payout.
Nay had an accident. She got hurt. She settled with the drunk driver and his insurance company for $100,000, but she only had $1,000 of medical expenses. Nay thought that both companies would pay her $200,000, so she wanted to get money from both of them. But the insurance company said no because there was no way to prove that any more than $1,000 was medical expenses. So then Nay said that the other money was for damages and not just medical expenses, so they should still pay up even though it wasn’t for all medical costs.
Allstate refused to pay a claim Nay had made. They said that Nay had a traditional type of policy, which is not the same as what I have.
People sued each other. The court found in Nay’s favor, and Allstate lost.
The appeals court said that the trial court had made a mistake.
Nay’s insurance company has paid 100,000 dollars of her medical bills. That is the limit. Because she has reached the limit, there is no more money for an accident because she can’t get a new policy to pay for it.
McFadden says that in 2014, the state’s Supreme Court said that punitive damages are not bad. They cannot be used to reduce the amount of insurance for an uninsured driver.
The court did not agree that Allstate’s case should be dismissed because it used the wrong name in its pleading. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co. is the company’s correct name, not Allstate Insurance Co., her attorney argued.
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