The Nation Law Firm was recently successful in a suit against Progressive Select Insurance Company for Personal Injury Protection benefits.
Our client was injured in a car accident and sought PIP benefits from Progressive, which insured the car he was riding in at the time of the accident. Progressive denied the claim and said that our client should file for PIP with Allstate (which insured his grandmother’s automobile). It was Progressive’s position that our client was a "resident relative" with his grandmother at the time of the crash and, since his grandmother carried PIP with Allstate, he should seek PIP benefits from Allstate. Allstate denied the claim because his grandmother gave a recorded statement to Allstate and claimed that he was not a resident relative at the time of the crash.
The law in Florida is clear on which PIP carrier must provide coverage. The first place to look for PIP is the injured person’s own insurance company if he owns a car. If he has his own PIP, then that insurer will provide coverage. If he owns a car and does not carry PIP, then no PIP will be afforded. (One is not required to carry PIP on an "inoperable" car). The next place to look for PIP is from the auto insurer of a "resident relative." If a resident relative has PIP, then that insurer will provide coverage. Finally, if there is no other PIP available from the first two sources, then the last place to look for PIP is from the insurer of the car in which the injured person was riding at the time of the crash.
At the time of the crash, our client owed a car, but it was inoperable. He did not carry PIP on that car. Thus, PIP had to come from either his grandmother’s PIP as a resident relative; or from Progressive as the insurer for the car in which he was injured. The battle lines were drawn – the case turned on the factual issue of whether our client was, or was not, a resident relative with his grandmother at the time of the crash.
Two days before the accident which injured him, our client had moved out of his grandmother’s house after a fight. At the time of the crash, and for some time after, he moved from place to place, but did not return to sleep at his grandmother’s. At the time of the crash, his driver’s license still had grandmother’s address, he still got mail at his grandmother’s house, he still had his belongings at his grandmother’s house. But, he never slept at her house after leaving two days before the accident. This was still all true some two years after the accident also. Our client testified that at the time of the accident, he had no intent to move back to his grandmother’s house.
We filed a declaratory judgment action against Progressive seeking a judicial determination that he was not a resident relative of his grandmother at the time of the crash. Just last week, after much discovery, Progressive agreed to pay the PIP claim in full, and to pay all of our attorney’s fees and costs incurred in prosecuting the case.