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When Does the Statute of Limitations Start to Run for a UIM Claim—The Date an Attorney Receives the Underlying Claim Check or When it is Endorsed?

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Attorney Tom MetierThree days between the receipt of a settlement check and the endorsement of that check determined whether a personal injury victim could sue the insurance company in the case of Donna Kovac, v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, No. 16CA0167, Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division One (Jan. 12, 2017).

Donna Kovac was injured in a car wreck with Kevin Filipelli. Filipelli was at fault. Filipelli’s insurance policy through Shelter Insurance Company (Shelter) had a maximum of $100,000. Kovac had two policies with Farmers. Kovac’s injuries were severe, and left her with medical expenses of more than $1.4 million.

Kovac settled with Shelter for the $100,000 policy limit. On April 2, 2013, Kovac’s attorney received the check and settlement offer from Shelter. April 5, 2013, Kovac accepted the settlement offer by endorsing the check. Later, Farmers offered to settle with Kovac for $80,000. Kovac and Farmers did not come to an agreement.

Kovac sued Farmers on April 3, 2015, for recovery of Uninsured Motorist benefits (UIM), for tortious bad faith breach of contract, and for unreasonable delay and denial of insurance benefits. Farmers moved for summary judgment saying the statute of limitations had run as of April 2, 2015. Farmers said the date Kovac’s attorney received the settlement check was the date determining the statute of limitations. The district court agreed with Farmers, granted summary judgment and then dismissed the suit.

Kovac filed an appeal and argued that though her attorney had received the check on April 2, 2013, the settlement offer was not accepted until she endorsed the check on April 5, 2013.

Therefore, the two-year statute of limitations had not run—not until April 5, 2015.  C.R.S. § 13-80-107.5(b) says that the statute of limitations runs two years from the date when the insured “…received payment of the settlement” on the underlying bodily injury claim. The court of appeals determined that Kovac released her claim against Filipelli on April 5, 2013. The statute of limitations had not run when she filed her lawsuit against Farmers.

The summary judgment was reversed and the case was remanded.

The Metier Law Firm is committed to assisting people with personal injury claims throughout Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska, and we frequently serve as co-counsel to law firms nationwide. Tom Metier recently secured the largest personal injury verdict in Colorado.