Winter Haven High Speed Police Chase Ends In Car Accident

Car Accidents

Police chased after a suicidal man driving a pickup truck in Winter Haven resulting in the man’s death and an injury to a third person in another vehicle.  The police chase ended on U.S. 27 between Cypress Gardens Boulevard and Thompson Nursery Road.  News reports indicate that the pickup truck “intentionally” struck two other vehicles before losing control of his vehicle.  The man driving the pickup truck died after being ejected from not wearing a seatbelt.

Intentional Versus Negligent Conduct

This accident is troublesome for anyone who needs to make an insurance claim because it was reported that the driver involved “intentionally” collided with other vehicles.  This distinction is important because every automobile insurance policy that I have ever seen has an exclusion for intentional conduct.  While there is a right to sue the estate of the deceased driver, there is likely nothing to collect apart from insurance (if he even had insurance in the first place).  On the other hand, bodily injury liability coverage in Florida is triggered by “negligent” acts committed behind the wheel of a car.

In order to have a payable claim under a Florida automobile insurance policy, then the claimant must allege that the deceased driver “negligently” struck the other cars in order for there to be insurance coverage due to the exclusion.  This may seem unfair, however, the greater purpose behind the exclusion is to prevent moral hazard.

This is why it is a good idea to have uninsured motorist’s coverage (UM) on your policy and collision (if you can afford it and you deem it necessary).  In Florida, UM coverage pays even when the driver of the other vehicle does something intentional to cause a crash.

Likewise, unless you can afford to replace your car in the unlikely event that an accident such as this happens to you, then you need to carry collision on your vehicle to ensure that you can recoup the value of your car should an accident such as this one happen to you.  This is why a bank will require you to carry collision coverage so long as you ahve a loan on your car.  Collision coverage pays regardless of whether the accident was your fault or not (that is also why it is one of the more expensive coverages you can have on your policy).

Will The Insurance Company Pay On This Claim?

Notwithstanding what has been said in the news, I would expect a reasonable insurance company to cover the liability claims for this accident for both bodily injury and property damage.

From the insurance company’s perspective, they have an obligation to act fairly and honestly toward their insured in settling claims against the estate.  An insurance company that denies a claim such as this one risks that a jury may later find that the conduct was negligent based on evidence presented (again the at-fault driver is already dead).  There is simply too much risk to deny a claim such as this one based on alleged “intentional” conduct that a jury may disagree with.

Talk To A Car Accident Attorney About Your Case

If you have questions about whether your car accident claim is valid under Florida law or whether an insurance company should pay you more for your claim, you should contact an a Lakeland personal injury attorney for help with your case.  A consultation with an attorney is free.


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March 08, 2017