Personal Injury Law: When an Insured is Not Insured Under Florida Law for Underinsured Motorist Credit

law books.jpgOne of the primary objectives of every Plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer is to fairly and honestly maximize his or her client’s recovery. For Defendants and their insurance companies, the opposite outcome is their primary goal.

For a Plaintiff’s lawyer to be successful, he must know the personal injury insurance laws.

In the area of personal injury law involving motor vehicle accidents, uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance frequently comes into play. See F.S. 627.727. While there are many different aspects to UM/UIM coverage, this blog will focus on whether the UM/UIM carrier is entitled to a credit for the money its insured receives for personal injury damages from a self-insured.

In State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Siergief, So. 3d , 38 FLW D1329a (Fla. 2d DCA 6-14-2013), State Farm’s insured, Siergief, sustained injuries in a crash with a vehicle owned by self-insured governmental agency. Siergief brought suit against the Sheriff’s Department and State Farm, for its UIM benefits. Before trial, Mr. Siergiej and the tortfeasor (Lee County Sheriff’s Department), settled for $50,000. The jury verdict against State Farm totaled $210,000. State Farm argued that it was entitled to a credit of $100,000, pursuant to 627.727(6)(c), this being the Sheriff Department’s self-insured limit, even though the settlement was for $50,000. State Farm proposed that, in combination with other offsets (e.g., PIP and

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