Policy Limit Settlement, Southeast Missouri
POLICY LIMITS SETTLEMENT
Plaintiff was a passenger in a car that was hit by a drunk driver in Southeastern Missouri. Unfortunately, the driver of the truck that hit the car in which Plaintiff was riding died as a result of the crash. It was later discovered that the operator of the truck did not have a license or any auto insurance to compensate Plaintiff for her injuries.
Plaintiff sued the owner of the truck claiming negligent entrustment since the decedent was not a licensed driver. The owner of the truck denied allowing the decedent permission to use his truck at the time of the crash. Plaintiff alleged that since the owner of the truck had left the keys in the ignition, the windows down and knew of decedent’s intent to use said truck, entrustment could be inferred. Plaintiff argued the decision in Long v. Missouri Delta Med. Ctr., 33 S.W.3d 629, 637 (Mo. App. 2000) (stating behavior in not removing the keys from the ignition of his vehicle does not need to be the sole cause of the Plaintiffs’ injuries, but must be one of the efficient causes thereof without which the injury would not have occurred).
In addition, Plaintiff brought an action against the two (2) separate auto insurance carriers pursuant to those companies’ uninsured motorist provisions.
Plaintiff alleged that as a result of the car crash, she sustained serious injuries to her leg which required hospitalization for approximately one (1) month and several subsequent surgeries. Prior to trial the insurance carrier for the owner of the truck agreed to pay the applicable policy limits. In addition, as a question of fact existed for a jury to decide relating to if entrustment of the truck had occurred, the insurance company agreed to settlement.