Defendant Driver Gets Benefit of Victim’s UIM Recovery

Posted on: July 10th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

In a stunning decision, a September 2009 ruling of the Pennsylvania Superior Court diminished the rights of injured victims making PA uninsured motorist claims.  A woman was driving in Jefferson County PA when she was hit by a negligent driver.  At the time of the crash, she was insured by State Farm Insurance Company.

The car accident victim sued the defendant in the Court of Common Pleas of Jefferson County.  Just prior to trial she settled her separate Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim with State Farm for $75,000.00.  At trial, the jury awarded her $100,000.00.

The defendant’s attorney filed a motion to mold the jury verdict to reflect the $75,000.00 UIM payment and reduce his client’s responsibility to $25,000.00.  Even though the car crash victim paid for the optional underinsured motorist coverage out of her own pocket, the court agreed and gave the benefit of the UIM payout to the negligent defendant.  Pusl v. Means, 982 A.2d 550 (PA Super 2009)