Insurer wants to cap liability in insured's auto accident

Kelly Holleran Apr. 8, 2010, 9:23am

An insurance company wants the court to cap its liability at $80,000 after one of its insureds suffered a miscarriage in a car accident.

USAA Casualty Insurance Company filed a complaint for interpleader March 26 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Stacey Leach and Curtis Belt.

USAA claims Leach drove a vehicle it insured on Jan. 17, 2007, when Tiffany Shaw, who drove a vehicle insured by United Equitable Insurance Company, collided with her in St. Clair County. At the time of the accident, Belt rode as a passenger in Leach's vehicle and claimed to be the putative father of the child Leach carried.

Because of the accident, the pregnant Leach suffered a miscarriage and United Equitable paid her its liability policy limits of $20,000 for the death of her unborn child. In addition, Belt agreed to receive $4,000 for his distributive share of any damages he may have incurred as the baby's father, according to the complaint.

Leach carries underinsured motorist coverage with USAA and should be covered up to $100,000 per person or $300,000 per occurrence should she be required to use the policy, the suit states.

Because United Equitable already paid Leach $20,000, USAA says it should only have to pay her and Belt $80,000 for her miscarriage. It wants the court to decide how the money should be disbursed between the two parties.

USAA seeks an order equally distributing the $80,000 underinsured policy limits or a portion the court deems just and an order discharging it from further liability.

Justin A. Hardin of Moser and Marsalek in St. Louis will be representing it.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-144.

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