CHARLESTON – Three lawsuits have been filed against State Farm Fire and Casualty Company for issues with uninsured motorist claims from car accidents that occurred in 2005 and 2009.
The lawsuits were filed in Kanawha Circuit Court on Oct. 24 and removed of federal court on March 23. They plaintiffs are Joseph R. Pettit; Samuel J. Martin; and Chad W. Schaefer and Mark Arnold.
Schaefer and Arnold claim on Oct. 7, 2009, they were in Schaefer’s vehicle, traveling on U.S. 119 when Justin R. Barker, an uninsured motorist, was traveling on the same road and failed to keep his vehicle in the proper lane and struck Schaefer’s vehicle.
Schaefer and Arnold claim they suffered injuries due to Barker’s negligence in excess of $71,094.
Schaefer was insured by State Farm and sought to receive his uninsured motorists coverage for himself and Arnold, but State Farm failed to make a commercially reasonable offer of uninsured motorist coverage to Schaefer as required by West Virginia code, according to the suit.
On April 27, 2005, Martin was traveling on SR 376 in Pennsylvania when an unknown motorist collided with his vehicle and caused him serious and permanent injuries, according to the suit.
Martin suffered damages and injuries in the amount of $76,000 and contacted State Farm regarding uninsured motorist benefits. His policy had a limit of $80,000 for uninsured motorist coverage
In 2016, Martin discovered the defendant’s concealment and misrepresentation of material facts and his right to contest the amount of uninsured motorist coverage his policy provided.
Under West Virginia law, a minimum of $100,000/300,000 of uninsured motorist coverage should exist for each of his policies with State Farm, according to the suit.
On Sept. 23, 2009, Pettit was traveling east on SR 21 in Pennsylvania when Mark Lorenz, an uninsured and/or underinsured motorist, collided with Pettit’s vehicle head-on.
Pettit suffered damages in excess of $100,000 and contacted State Farm regarding uninsured motorist coverage.
State Farm paid out $40,000 to Pettit and Lorenz’s insurance paid out $15,000. Despite these payments, Pettit still suffered damages.
Pettit discovered in 2016 that State Farm was required to have a minimum of $50,000 and $100,000 for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
State Farm breached its contract and its duty of good faith.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are represented by Brent K. Kesner of Kesner & Kesner; and Gregory A. Gellner of Gellner Law Offices.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case numbers: 2:18-cv-00472, 2:18-cv-00473, 2:18-cv-00474