MORGANTOWN -- A Monongalia County man claims an insurance company has failed in its duty to insure its patrons properly.

Philip Lemon was involved in a car accident on Darst Street and Jersey Avenue in Morgantown on June 16, 2004. He was first party insured by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company with the state-required amount of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.

In the suit filed on Jan. 26, Lemon states that on July 5, the insurance carrier of the person responsible for the accident put State Farm Insurance Company on notice of its intent to offer plaintiff policy limits. The unnamed carrier then requested a waiver of subrogation rights by State Farm Insurance Company.

On July 10, without notifying Lemon, State Farm Insurance Company waived those subrogation rights.

The subrogation rights State Farm Insurance Company waived would have allowed it to recover damages for its own insured, Lemon.

Then, on August 5, State Farm Insurance Company tendered $7,438.45 as a "final determination of damages." However, Lemon has medical expenses that total more than $32,902.78. He also has lost wages in the amount of $15,250.69. His doctors also determined that he has a whole body impairment disability rating of 6%.

Filed by George R. Higinbotham of Higinbotham and Higinbotham, P.L.L.C., the suit claims that State Farm Insurance Company is in breach of its contract with Lemon because of a clause that reads "to pay damages for bodily injury an insured is legally entitled to collect from the owner or driver of an underinsured motor vehicle."

Lemon is seeking a trial by jury to decide punitive damages for past and future pain, suffering, mental anguish, annoyance, physical discomfort, loss of ability to enjoy life, discontinuation of normal pursuits and inconvenience. He is seeking compensatory damages for past and future medical bills and lost wages in the amount of $48,153.47, court costs and attorney's fees.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 06-C-55

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