CAR ACCIDENT INJURY FAMILY MEMBER DRIVING AT FAULT- MN INSURANCE COVERAGE
The Minnesota Court of Appeals decided a case last week where a mother and son were in the family car when the son, who was driving, caused an accident that unfortunately seriously injured his mother.
Because of the mother’s serious injury from this car accident, the family decided to make a claim on their auto insurance policy. The policy had $500,000 of insurance liability coverage if any family member caused an accident while driving a car. What they didn’t know, was that the insurance policy had a “drop down” provision that said if a family member caused an auto accident that injured another family member, the coverage would be $30,000 instead of $500,000. Since the son was the driver in the accident that injured his mother, the insurance company said they would only pay $30,000, even though the mother was very seriously injured and her medical bills alone were far more than that.
The family sued the insurance company and said they were tricked because they didn’t know about this “drop down” provision for a family member’s injury when another person from the family was driving the car, and would never have agreed to it if they had known about it. However, the court of appeals dismissed their case and said they should have read their insurance policy.
This case is sad for many reasons, starting with the mother’s serious injury from the crash. But it is also sad that the insurance company can get away with this “drop down” provision without bringing it to the attention of the customer. Even if the customer read the insurance policy, the policy language tends to be complex and difficult to understand. The insurance agent should have warned the family and let them decide if they want other insurance – particularly because it costs very little more to get an auto insurance policy without the drop down coverage for when a family member causes a crash that injures a sibling or other family member.
The moral of the story is make sure you have a good auto insurance agent, ask questions, and read the policy when you get it. Most people would want to cover their own family for injuries if they cause an accident while driving the family car.
If you are injured in a Minnesota car accident where another family member was driving, please call us and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation. Our attorneys have more than 25 years’ experience representing people injured in an auto accident, and we have handled many cases where the accident was caused by a family member.