Is Emotional Distress Covered By Bodily Injury Insurance?

An interesting personal injury case was recently settled in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. In it, the judge found that the “bodily injury” clause in a car insurance policy covered emotional distress as well as physical harm.

The case was Brewington v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company. Plaintiff Brewington stated in her complaint that State Farm breached an insurance policy when it denied a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim that she brought against them. State Farm’s attorneys argued that “bodily injury” and “emotional distress” are two separate things, and that emotional distress was not covered under this clause of the policy.

This lawsuit arose after the policy holder witnessed the death of her husband on the highway. They were riding their motorcycles when a third rider coming from the opposite direction collided with the plaintiff’s husband. Ms. Brewington witnessed the collision in which both of the other riders were ejected from their bikes. She stayed with her husband, who was critically injured, and even rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital. Her husband was pronounced dead.

Ms. Brewington suffered severe emotional distress that required medical treatment, including the use of prescription drugs. State Farm paid the plaintiff’s wrongful death claim based on their car and motorcycle insurance policy. However, they denied her emotional distress claim even though she required medical assistance to deal with the aftermath of the accident.

In this instance, the court decided in the plaintiff’s favor, which means that State Farm will have to compensate her. Nonetheless, this case demonstrates that insurance companies aren’t always willing to honor claims filed by their policy holders. It may be necessary to hire a Las Vegas insurance claim attorney to get the job done right.