Robinson v. Auto Owners Insurance Company

718 So. 2d 1283 (1998)

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Robinson v. Auto Owners Insurance Company

Florida District Court of Appeal
718 So. 2d 1283 (1998)

Facts

Katherine Robinson (plaintiff) was injured in an automobile accident. The driver who hit Robinson (the tortfeasor), and who was allegedly at-fault, had a bodily injury liability policy through Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate). Robinson did not file a claim against the tortfeasor within the applicable four-year statute of limitations. Robinson had an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy (UM policy) through Auto Owners Insurance Company (Auto Owners) (defendant). In Florida, the statute of limitations to file a UM policy claim is five years. Approximately four-and-a-half years after the accident, Robinson filed a claim under her Auto Owners UM policy. Auto Owners denied Robinson’s claim. Robinson then sued Auto Owners to enforce her UM claim. In response, Auto Owners filed a third-party subrogation claim against the tortfeasor. Because Auto Owners’ subrogation claim was filed after the expiration of the four-year statute of limitations for bodily injury claims, the trial court granted the tortfeasor summary judgment. Auto Owners then moved for summary judgment in Robinson’s action, arguing that (1) Auto Owners was prejudiced by Robinson’s failure to submit timely notice of her accident; and (2) Robinson violated policy terms by failing to pursue her claim against the tortfeasor within the four-year statute of limitations, thereby extinguishing Auto Owner’s right to recover from the tortfeasor through subrogation. The trial court granted Auto Owners summary judgment, holding that Robinson’s delay in notifying Auto Owners about the accident prejudiced Auto Owners. Robinson appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Northcutt, J.)

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