Supposed lowball offer for underinsured motorist benefits results in lawsuit versus Progressive Insurance

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jul 6, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – A plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Progressive Insurance and one of its employees for breach of contract and bad faith, among other charges, after allegedly receiving a lowball offer of underinsured motorist benefits.

Telese Lewis of Upper Darby filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on June 21 versus Progressive Advanced Insurance Company of Cleveland, Ohio and Dawn Eberle of Plymouth Meeting.

Lewis was a passenger in a motor vehicle on March 23, 2016, insured by Progressive and stopped in traffic at the intersection of 52nd Street and Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia, when Charlene Meikle, who was operating her motor vehicle behind the plaintiff, drove into the rear of the plaintiff’s motor vehicle, thus causing Lewis to suffer severe and grievous injuries.

At the time of the subject claim, Meikle was insured by Geico Insurance Company with policy limits of $15,000 and the same was paid to Lewis with permission of the defendants in this action, in order to proceed with her underinsured motorist claim against defendant Progressive.

Lewis said she cooperated fully with Progressive, allowed the company full access to her medical file, provided her medical specials packet for its evaluation, requested that Progressive and Eberle evaluate her claim and make a fair offer to resolve her underinsured motorist case.

According to the plaintiff, Meikle and her negligent, careless driving was the sole cause of the accident. In said accident, Lewis averred that she sustained significant neck pain, back pain, left knee injury and pain, a tear of her medial collateral ligament confirmed via film review, possible meniscus tear and overall shock to her well-being and nervous system.

“As a result of the aforesaid incident, plaintiff has been and may in the future be obliged to receive and undergo medical attention and care and to expend various sums of money or to incur various expenses in treating her injuries, especially considering she only had $5,000.00 in personal injury protection coverage, yet her bills totaled some $13,000.00 and she had no private health insurance,” according to the complaint.

Lewis attempted to settle her underinsured motorist claim since settlement of the third-party case against the Geico insured. But on June 13, Eberle indicated Lewis’s case was only worth $1,000 more in underinsured motorist benefits and that value for the case in whole was not even worth the $15,000 she received to that date, despite the “obvious accident-related knee tear and excess medical bills owing.”

“Defendant Progressive has accepted the possible risk of having to pay underinsured motorist benefits to its vehicle occupants, because of doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and collected a premium for same. Although plaintiff submitted her medical specials to defendant for evaluation, to include film study copies and a film review, Progressive has deliberately stonewalled the plaintiff and made a lowball offer, despite the obvious medical evidence. The totality of all proofs sent to Progressive clearly demonstrates that plaintiff’s injuries relate to the loss at issue, and that her claimed damages are well more than the $15,000 in underinsured motorist coverage limits,” the complaint says.

For counts of breach of contract, bad faith, emotional distress and violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) related to the supposed lowball offer from the defendants, the plaintiff is seeking damages not in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs of suit, attorney’s fees and other relief in this matter.

The plaintiff is represented by Leo M. Flynn of Martins Mill Legal Center, in Cheltenham.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170602244

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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