In a motorcycle accident case, Christina Elliott appealed the dismissal of her lawsuit against Geico Indemnity Company. Mrs. Elliott’s husband was struck and killed by the defendant, who had been driving while intoxicated. While Mrs. Elliott recovered damages from the defendant’s insurer and the restaurant owner’s insurer, she sought additional damages under Geico’s underinsured/uninsured motorist policy. At issue was whether Geico was required to pay Mrs. Elliott, under the underinsured motorist liability coverage of her policy, in addition to the recovery she had already obtained from the defendant’s insurer and the restaurant owner’s insurer.The facts demonstrated that the defendant, Lesa Shaffer, was returning home from her job at a restaurant and bar in Nevada City. She had been drinking, and her truck crossed the center line and entered the deceased’s lane of travel. His motorcycle was struck by Ms. Shaffer’s vehicle, and he died.
Ms. Shaffer’s insurer paid $15,000, and the restaurant owner’s general liability insurer paid $250,000 to Mrs. Elliott, after the settlement of a wrongful death action brought against Ms. Shaffer and the restaurant owner. Mrs. Elliot then submitted an insurance claim to Geico for $85,000, which is the underinsured motorist coverage limit minus the $15,000 recovered from Ms. Shaffer’s insurance company.