Court allows insurers to prevent their adjusters from testifying in PIP case
Rosemary Knowles sued Progressive Michigan and Farmers Insurance Exchange, claiming that she was entitled to PIP damages (medical expenses and up to three years of wages or domestic services) as a result of one or both of two motor vehicle collisions. Each of the insurers maintained that Knowles' continuing problems were not caused by the accident that occurred during their respective coverage periods. At trial, the two insurers, apparently shamed by their PIP adjusting practices, asked the Court to prevent Knowles' attorney from calling their respective adjusters as witnesses.
The trial court concluded that the adjusters' management of Knowles' claim was irrelevant because the insurers were basing their denial of benefits on disputed medical causation. Knowles' attorney appealed, arguing that the jury would better understand the prejudice in the insurers' denial if the jurors were acquainted with the entire biased claims process. The Court of Appeals disagreed and upheld the order preventing Knowles from calling the adjusters to the witness stand.