State laws vary when it comes to uninsured motorists coverage. Our personal injury attorneys are licensed to practice in both Kentucky and Tennessee and see these type of cases often.In a case decided by the Kentucky Court of Appeals recently, the issue of which state laws applied in an uninsured motorist case was handled by the court. The case is Grange Property and Casualty Company vs. Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company. The dispute arose after two motorists were in an accident in Pike County, which is in Eastern Kentucky. Grange Ferlin Pruitt, the operator of one of the vehicles, was driving a vehicle owned by his employer, Drill Steel Services. The other driver, Allison Comer, had no insurance. Drill Steel Services insured Pruitt’s vehicle with Grange Property and Casualty Company, which had policy limits for Uninsured Motorists of $1 million. Pruitt also had a personal insurance policy from Tennessee Farmers, which provided coverage of up to $100,000 for accidents involving uninsured motorists. Allison Comer died as a result of the accident. Pruitt was injured.
Comer had crossed the center line and struck Pruitt’s vehicle and was responsible for the injuries he suffered, but because Comer was not insured, the only payout he could receive was from his own insurance company’s uninsured or underinsured motorists provisions. He settled with Grange, and Grange sought to recover the $100,000 policy limit from Tennessee Mutual, arguing that the company was responsible for the payment under Kentucky’s pro-rata law. Tennessee Mutual argued that Tennessee law applied, and Pike County Circuit Court agreed with Tennessee Mutual.
Grange appealed the case to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which affirmed the lower court’s decision. The court agreed that Grange had the greater duty to cover Pruitt, and argued that Grange’s policy should pay out first, and Tennessee Mutual’s policy would only kick in if damages exceeded $1 million. Drill Steel Services is a Kentucky-based corporation.