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Attorney Matt Troutman

“Resident Relative” is a way to find Insurance

for an Auto Accident Claim

March 15, 2023

A client recently called about an accident he had where he turned in front of another vehicle and he wanted to know if he could make a personal injury claim for his injuries. After I explained to him that he could not make a claim since he was at fault in the accident, he mentioned that his uncle, a passenger in his car, was significantly injured in the accident. I told him that his uncle could make a claim against him for his injuries. Unfortunately, he did not have any insurance on his vehicle and, therefore, the uncle could not make a successful claim against him. Then I asked him a question that led to a claim for the uncle. I asked him whether, at the time of the accident, was his uncle a “resident relative” of anyone. He said that his uncle was living with his nephew and I told him that it is possible that his uncle could make a claim against his nephew’s policy for uninsured motorist benefits if the nephew had this coverage at the time of this accident. This is the magic of being a “resident relative.”

Most auto insurance policies are written to include “resident relatives” in the definition of “insured.” This means even though the uncle did not purchase the auto policy and the car upon which the policy was written was not in the accident, he could make a claim against it. Fortunately, the nephew had purchased uninsured motorist coverage and I was able to make a successful claim against that policy for the uncle because he was a “resident relative.”

In order to qualify for auto insurance coverages as a “resident relative,” you must be able to prove to the insurance company that you are related by blood or marriage to the insured and that you are residing with them at the time of the accident. Depending on the terms of the policy, you may need to prove that you were not just visiting at the time of the accident, but that you intended to stay for the foreseeable future. The policy could define “resident” as someone who intends to stay indefinitely.

In the case of the Uncle described above, it was very difficult to prove he was residing with his nephew at the time of the accident. He had only been there 3 months and he had no mail delivered there and no documents that could verify the residence as his address at the time of the accident. Oral statements were taken and ultimately the insurance company was satisfied with the proof of residency.

Don’t’ be Afraid to Allow a “Resident Relative” to Make a Claim Against your Auto Insurance Policy?

In over 36 years of personal injury practice, I cannot tell you how many people have refused to allow their relative to make a claim against their policy because of a fear that their insurance rates will go up. Also, many people seem to be offended by a claim against their insurance when they were not involved in the accident. They cannot seem to get their head around the claim and think the lawyer is up to something devious. They act like a claim is being made against them and not just their insurance.

The truth is that an insurance company will not raise your rates because of a valid claim from a “resident relative.” In fact, there is a Kentucky statute that prohibits insurance companies from raising insurance rates when their insured is not considered at fault in an accident. In these claims, the insured is not only innocent of fault, but they were not even involved in the accident. If an insurance company is foolish enough to ignore the Kentucky laws, then there are many other insurance companies that would like to have your premium dollar.

Despite the assurances I give the client, many will not give the relative permission to make the claim. Of course, the relative could make the claim without the permission of the auto policy owner, but personal relationships would be damaged in the process. It is most unfortunate.

Contact Kentucky Car Accident Lawyer

If you are injured in an auto accident, you will require the services of an experienced Kentucky car accident attorney to investigate the cause of the accident and maximize all insurance benefits. Matthew Troutman, a Kentucky car accident lawyer, of the Troutman Law Office has been handling auto accident claims, almost exclusively, since 1986 and has the experience and talent to obtain the best result for the victims in the above car accident. Contact Kentucky car accident attorney Matthew Troutman directly at 859-696-0001 or 502-648-9507 and he will meet with you in the hospital, your home or wherever is convenient for you. He will give you direct access through his cell phone and guide you through the difficult process necessary to obtain the best result possible for you in your car accident claim. To learn more about Kentucky car accident attorney Matthew Troutman and the Troutman Law Office, click here.