KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A young Kansas City couple recently became victims twice. The first time was when a driver crashed into both their cars parked in their driveway, totaling them. The second time was when that driver’s insurance company refused to pay for the damage.
“It was like a train going by or something,” said Jasmine Ortega who was feeding her newborn baby in the living room of her Kansas City home when she heard the crash. “It was so loud. I came out my front door and there is a car on top of this car and it’s just smoking.”
The driver ran off the road, into their front yard mail box and careened across the lawn and through two trees before smashing into one of their cars and then bouncing back to land on the other.
The 44-year-old driver was later pronounced dead at the hospital. It was a horrible accident that claimed one life and the only two cars that Ortega and her fiancé Tayor Perkins own.
So why, a month later, is FOX 4 Problem Solvers involved? Because the driver’s insurance company Progressive won’t pay for the damage. Since the couple’s cars were parked in their own driveway at the time of the accident how could the driver not be responsible?
“They don’t have to pay because it’s an act of God,” Perkins said he was told by Progressive. “A man driving a man-made car doesn’t sound very 'act of God' to me.”
However, it’s a common reason insurance companies give when denying a claim. Ortega and Perkins said they weren’t trying to get rich from the tragedy.
They asked Progressive for $5,000 – the combined Blue Book value of their two cars. Their own insurance wouldn’t pay because they carried only liability coverage.
Attorney Scott Shachtman said there’s only one fact that matters when it comes to insurance: negligence.
“You have to be able to show the driver of the car was negligent to collect any money against him or her,” Shachtman said.
Progressive claimed the the driver who caused this crash likely suffered a stroke behind the wheel. Progressive said it was an unanticipated medical emergency, not negligence. But the Kansas City couple didn’t buy that. They had trouble believing Progressive knew exactly what caused the crash since an autopsy hadn’t even been completed.
They scoured social media to learn more about the driver and discovered multiple photos of him using an oxygen tank to breathe. Other posts mentioned a blood disorder that is linked to breathing problems. The couple told Progressive what they had found --- but Progressive still wouldn’t budge.
That’s why the couple contacted FOX 4 Problem Solvers. We again turned to attorney Shachtman who said the driver’s medical history is important when determining negligence.
“You could argue that person was not safe to be on the road,” Shachtman said.
A few days after Problem Solvers raised that issue with Progressive, it started negotiating with the couple to pay the claim. A few weeks later, the couple received $5,000 from Progressive.
What’s the lesson here? Don’t give up. Persistence pays off when dealing with an insurance company and so does being your own detective.