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Hogan Sues Car Insurance Company

Wrestling legend Hulk Hogan has decided to take his auto insurance company to court following an insurance dispute stemming from his son's car crash in 2007. Hogan has brought accusations against his insurer as part of this lawsuit claiming that the provider failed to advise him about his auto policy requirements prior to the accident. Hogan's son spent time in prison after the accident and a subsequent trial, having pled no contest to reckless driving in the case.

Wrestler Claims Insurer was Negligent

The lawsuit filed by Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, alleges malpractice by the insurance giant representing him and his family at the time of the accident. When Nick Bollea, Hogan's son and the driver in the case, was tried for reckless driving, he pled no contest and served some time in prison. But the family of the victim decided to sue as well, seeking monetary damages. The passenger in Bollea's car at the time of the accident, John Graziano, suffered numerous critical injuries and nearly died as a result of the crash. He also ended up with permanent brain damage in the aftermath of the accident. As a result of these injuries, Graziano's family decided to take Hogan, Bollea and Bollea's mother to civil court. Their suit alleged that these three were all negligent in their actions leading to Graziano's injuries [1].

The case was later settled for an undisclosed amount. Now Hogan is attempting to recover his losses from his insurance provider, which had sold him a policy with a $250,000 liability limit. Hogan's suit contends that the provider was negligent in failing to advise him of his need to increase the limits of liability insurance policy with a teenage driver being added to his plan. Since these drivers are high risk as a group, the lawsuit contends, it follows that an insurer should make string recommendations to its policy holders about increasing their liability coverage when teens are added to a family plan. To Hogan, he feels as though he should have never had to pay out of pocket for the settlement on the Graziano civil case, because his liability limit should have been increased once his son Bollea was added to the policy [1].

Responsibilities of Providers and Policyholders

This case is an interesting one not only for the obvious celebrity connection, but for the way it plays out in court. It speaks to the uncertainty many policyholders feel when it comes to where their responsibilities end and those of the auto insurance companies begin. In these sorts of situations, it is instructive to think about which party in an insurance compact really has the responsibility to take the initiative to make changes to a policy. When teenage drivers are licensed for the first time and added to an auto plan, it is always a good idea to take a look at coverage and decide whether the current levels are sufficient. This is especially true of liability coverage.

Teens are a high risk group of drivers. As a whole, they get into more accidents each year than any other age group. A teen's first year of driving is the riskiest of all. New drivers are more likely to get into an accident in their first year behind the wheel than at any other time. So it is clear that there is some basis for complaints among policy holders who claim that it is the job of the insurer to inform them about needed changes for their policies when new drivers come in.

Final Considerations on Auto Liability

But at the same time, it greatly behooves consumers to stay on top of these things as well. After all, we are the ones paying for these plans. Our insurers are just selling us a product. We are the ones who know our teen drivers best of anyone, so it makes sense for an insurer to make the claim that it is the job of the policy holder to make decisions to adjust coverage on their own. They are the final decision makers, and they can reject any suggestions made by the insurance provider as long as they keep the terms of their policies within the law in their home state.

Hogan's case against his auto insurance provider will be an interesting one to follow because it may shed light on the legal community's view of which party really bears the heaviest burden when it comes to making sensible coverage choices in the context of the characteristics of those being covered by the policy. Many eyes may be on this case for entertainment value, but it might be even more fascinating to see the judgment handed down and think about its applicability to auto insurance philosophy.

[1] Retrieved 2010-04-25.



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