Vehicle Accident Settlement: Wollman v. Frentz and Safeco

Case Type

Case Description - Patricia McCleary was run over in a cross walk in Kansas City, Kansas by defendant Frentz. Patricia was retired and had no children or spouse, but was survived by her sister, plaintiff Wollman. Because both the plaintiff and defendant lived in Missouri, suit was brought in Jackson County. That proved hugely important in this case due to two, complex legal issues. The first involved a lien by KU Medical Center. KU provided the car after the accident, before the death. KU sought a lien on the settlement proceeds. Under Kansas law, the lien would have applied. Under Missouri law, a healthcare provider can not assert a lien against the wrongful death claim. As such, there was no lien.

Defendant Frentz only had $50,000 in liability coverage through State Farm. Fortunately, Mrs. McCleary had purchased underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $100,000 through Safeco. Safeco and other insurance companies typically seek a set-off, or reduction for the liability payment. Consumers and most judges believe that if you have $100,000 in underinsured coverage and your damages merit the payment, then Safeco should not get a credit or set-off for the $50,000 payment by State Farm. Fortunately, in Missouri, that argument can be made. In Kansas, per statutes, they get the credit for the liability payment.


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Past results afford no guarantee of future results and every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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