Posted on Mar 28, 2014
The memorandum opinion from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Renner v. Progressive Northern Ins. Co., 2:12-CV-2570-CDJ (E.D. Pa. March 18, 2014) was recently issued and involves the admissibility at a UIM trial of medical expenses for which the insured already received payment from her own auto insurance company. In this case, a car accident occurred in Delaware with a Delaware driver. The insured Renner recovered the third party coverage from the Delaware driver and settled for the third party limits. She then sought underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage from Progressive under her Pennsylvania policy. The Progressive policy contained a provision which stated than any dispute as to the coverage or provisions shall “be governed by the law of the state listed on your application as your residence.” At the time of the application for coverage and accident, Renner was a resident of Pennsylvania. However, it also stated that the UIM claim is derivative of the third party claim since it is based upon the third party being underinsured.
Renner argued that the UIM provision of her policy applies because her claim arises as a result of the injuries caused by a third party. This is a derivative claim and basically is part of the third party claim. In Delaware, the collateral source rule applies and a person may recover for medical bills already paid, even if not subject to reimbursement. However, Progressive argued that the choice of law provision applies and the Pennsylvania law applies under the policy which would not allow the expenses to be recovered.
The District Court relies heavily on Willett v. Allstate Ins. Co., 359 Fed. Appx. 349 (3d Cir. 2009) which stands for the proposition that the UIM claim is derivative of the third party claim. In this case, the third party claim followed Delaware law so the derivative claim should as well. The court holds that the insurance policy’s UIM clause controls over the general choice of law provision in it and the UIM clause requires that the court apply the Delaware law.
For a copy of the Memorandum please feel free to contact Harrisburg Injury lawyer Scott Cooper at scooper@Schmidt Kramer.com. Call us at Schmidt Kramer Harrisburg Car Accident Injury Lawyers if you have any other questions.
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