$704,029: Injured Doctor Collects Against His Own Insurance Through His UIM Coverage

CASE DESCRIPTION: Plaintiff slowed down for traffic jam on the 22 freeway when he was rear-ended by a driver who did not slow down. Driver settled for his policy limits which did not cover Plaintiff’s damages. Plaintiff then brought a claim against his underinsured motorist insurance policy.

RESULT: $704,029.07 total settlement

Plaintiff was driving down the 22 freeway between the Glassel and Tustin exits. As he approached that area he slowed down due to traffic jam. Plaintiff was traveling at about 10 mph when he was rear-ended by John H., who was traveling at approximately 40-45 miles per hour. Plaintiff sustained a 7 mm disc herniation at the L5-S1 level, and as a result, suffered back and leg pain.

Plaintiff’s ability to perform his job duties was severely limited as a result of his injury. Consequently he had to reduce and reorganize his medical practice. In addition had to eliminate or severely reduce his participation in athletic activities. Plaintiff settled with the other driver for policy limits of $15,000.00 and then filed a claim against his under insured motorist insurance.

The parties disputed liability. Plaintiff contended that because his economic damages amounted to $1,705,000 in lost wages, his under insured Motorist Insurance should be responsible for the balance of his loss in an amount up to the policy limits of his UIM policy. While the Defendant contended that Plaintiff’s damages did not amount to $1,705,000 and that his back injury was not that severe.

TYPE OF CASE: Underinsured Motorist Claim

INJURIES: Plaintiff sustained a 7 mm disc herniation at the L5-S1 level, resulting in back and leg pain.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT:On 9/8/94 on the 22 Freeway in Orange, California.

PLAINTIFF’S AGE: 50 at time of incident.

OCCUPATION: Obstetrician/gynecologist

Richard A. Cohn
For Plaintiff – Jesus H., M.D.

Steven Trotter
For Defendant – State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

DEFENDANT INSURANCE CO.: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company