In the wake of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gallagher v. Geico in January, in recent months state courts have made rulings in favor of insureds in disputes about stacking underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).
January’s ruling stated an insured motorist should not be denied the ability to stack his or her UM/UIM coverage because of the household vehicle exclusion because this violates the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.
At the time, Schmidt Kramer partner Scott Cooper said this ruling undid about 30 years of cases as the court ruled in favor of arguments that he and other attorneys had made numerous times. Cooper, along with other attorneys, represented the victim in this case.
Recent Rulings in Favor of the Insured
There have been several rulings in recent months that favor policyholders, including:
- September 16, 2019 – Rutt v. Donegal Mutual Insurance – Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas rejected the insurance company’s defense that Gallagher v. Geico did not apply in every situation. The insurance company’s argument was that the supreme court’s ruling should only apply when both parties were covered by the same provider, and that it should also only apply as a new law, and not retroactively. However, the Lancaster court said the ruling should be applied to past cases.
- September 28, 2019 – Barnard v. Travelers Home and Marine Insurance - The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruled that when an insured modified his or her auto insurance policy to increase the uninsured or underinsured coverage limits, it must be considered as a new purchase. As such, the insurer is required to provide the insured motorist with a new stacking waiver.
- October 1, 2019 – Rush v. Erie - A common pleas judge in a Northampton County Court denied motion for summary judgment by Erie Insurance Exchange. The insurer wanted to deny a policyholder’s ability to recover damages from stacked UIM coverage.
Cooper represents the plaintiffs in this case and wrote an amicus brief for Barnard. The “tide” seems to be shifting in courts’ attitudes toward stacked coverage.
Contact Schmidt Kramer About Your Insurance Company Dispute
If you were injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist and were denied the ability to stack coverage to obtain compensation, we encourage you to call our Harrisburg car accident lawyers for a review of your claim.
We offer a free and confidential initial consultation, and there is no financial risk or obligation to move forward after that meeting. If we find that you do have a claim and we represent you, there are no upfront costs for you to pay. We operate on contingency, which means that if we do not win compensation on your behalf, we do not get paid.
Call our firm today for a free consultation. (717) 888-8888