Appellate Court Issues Ruling in Florida Car Insurance Coverage Dispute

Recently, an appellate court addressed whether a Florida plaintiff may recover uninsured motorist benefits after she suffered injuries at a mobile gym. According to the court’s opinion, the defendant ran a mobile gym out of his truck and trained the plaintiff for several years. To power the machines and equipment, the defendant plugged the mobile gym’s generator into an outlet at the woman’s home. This arrangement worked well until the woman suffered permanent injuries during one of her sessions. The woman settled negligence claims with the mobile gym owner and her personal trainer. However, she also filed an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim (UIM) with her insurance company. The insurance company claimed that its UIM policy does not apply to motor vehicles such as a mobile gym. Ultimately, the trial court found in the insurance company’s favor, and the woman appealed the ruling.

Car insurance coverage is an integral part of car ownership, and can protect motorists from disastrous financial burdens if they are involved in an accident. However, the Insurance Research Council estimates that over 12% of drivers do not have car insurance coverage. When a driver is involved in a Florida car accident with a UIM driver, they may face challenges in trying to recover for their damages. To address this inherent unfairness, many car insurance companies offer their policyholders UIM coverage. This protects drivers from high out-of-pocket costs if they are a victim of a hit-and-run or an accident with a negligent UIM.

When a Florida driver files a UIM claim with their insurance company, the company effectively steps into the shoes of the negligent driver. In many instances, the policy holder’s relationship with their insurance provider becomes adversarial, and claimants need to fight for their benefits.

In the case above, the insurance company argued that their UIM coverage did not apply to vehicles that were “located for use as a …premises.” The plaintiff argued that “premises” is a vague and ambiguous term and that the truck was not a house, building, or tract of land. The court found that the fitness center did not have a brick and mortar office, the fitness equipment was bolted down, and a generator powered the gym. These facts led the court to find that the gym was a “premises” for the purposes of a negligence claim. Therefore, because the complaint did not arise out of injuries she suffered from the use of an uninsured automobile, she was not entitled to UIM benefits.

Have You Suffered Injuries with an Uninsured or Underinsured Florida Driver?

If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of a negligent uninsured or underinsured Florida driver, you should contact the Florida car accident attorneys at Frankl Kominsky. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling the unique challenges that UIM claims pose. We understand the financial burden that car accidents can have on a victim, and work tirelessly on behalf of our clients. Compensation often includes damages for medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 561-708-5461 to schedule a free initial consultation with someone on our legal team.