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Coverage on five policies stacked after insurer reverses initial coverage denial

$150,000 settlement

A woman who sustained an ankle fracture in an accident caused by a hit and run driver on Missouri highway settled for $150,000 with her insurance carrier, according to her attorney.

Stephen Gerring of The Gerring Law Firm in St. Louis said the difficulty in the case came in reversing the liability decision made prior to his involvement. The woman had given a recorded statement to her insurance company stating she was “getting over” to exit Interstate 70 when the accident happened. A police report attributed fault to the woman for “improperly merging.” Her insurance company placed responsibility for this accident on the woman for not checking her blind spot while merging lanes.

Gerring said the insurance company reversed its decision when it became clear that several major factors relied on during the original investigation were incorrect. He said the police report listed the wrong mile marker, which demonstrated that the woman did not need change lanes to take her intended exit. The police report was made without talking to the woman, as she had been whisked away from the scene by ambulance to the emergency room.

Gerring also said the insurance company’s theory of liability indicated there should have been property damage on the rear passenger quarter panel of the woman’s vehicle. Instead, he said, the vehicle was horrifically mangled on almost every area except the passenger side rear quarter panel.

She suffered a medial and lateral malleolar fracture of left ankle and severe thigh hematoma in the crash, and she was heavily medicated after surgery when she gave her recorded statement. Gerring said she meant “getting over” in the sense that she was intending to exit the highway, not that she was actively merging.

The vehicle the plaintiff was driving had $50,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. She had four other vehicles on the policy with $25,000 limits each, which they were able to stack for a total of $150,000.

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Motor vehicle collision

Venue: Missouri

Case Number/Date: Not filed/Oct. 24, 2022

Special Damages: $67,012.63 billed medical; $31,255.68 federal subrogation interest owed

Insurer: State Farm

Caption: Confidential

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Stephen Gerring, The Gerring Law Firm, St. Louis