In a case decided earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that an insured does not lose his or her uninsured motorist benefits simply because the insured does not attend a compulsory medical examination. To deny benefits, the insurance company must show that it was prejudiced by the insured’s failure to attend the examination.
As I have written in the past, uninsured motorist coverage pays for past and future medical expenses, lost wages and other compensatory damages such as pain and suffering in cases where the at-fault’s driver’s insurance in insufficient or even nonexistent. Florida law requires an insurance company to provide uninsured motorist coverage in the same amount as bodily injury coverage unless the insured opts out using an approved form. Bodily injury coverage pays for injuries you cause to others, but does not pay for your injuries. Don’t opt out of uninsured motorist coverage.
The recent case arose out of an automobile accident involving a State Farm automobile policy. The at fault driver lacked sufficient insurance coverage. The insured demanded payment from State Farm under the uninsured motorist policy. State Farm demanded that its insured submit to a compulsory medical examination by a doctor selected and paid for by State Farm. After many letters back and forth, the insured declined to attend the medical examination and State Farm refused to pay under the policy. The insured sued State Farm which defended claiming that the insured’s failure to attend the medical examination was a breach of the policy relieving State Farm from paying.
A jury awarded the insured over four million dollars which was reduced to the policy limits of one hundred thousand dollars. State Farm appealed; but the appellate courts ruled that an insurance company has to prove that it was prejudiced by its insured’s failure to attend the compulsory examination to avoid paying under the policy. State Farm had failed to show it suffered any prejudice and the judgment was affirmed.
I personally represent good people injured in automobile and motorcycle accidents caused by another person’s negligence. Referrals are always appreciated.