The Ohio Supreme Court has decided that Ohio Revised Code Section 3937.18 permits insurance companies to include an express limitation of coverage in an automobile insurance policy that precludes payments made under uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage for medical expenses that are paid or payable under the medical payments coverage purchased in the same policy. Stated differently, the Ohio Supreme Court found that an insurance company may decline to pay medical expenses pursuant to uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage when those same medical expenses have previously been paid or will be paid pursuant to the medical payments coverage in the same policy.

In this particular case, State Farm had a œnon-duplication clause, which stated that the insurance company did not have to pay under uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage any medical expenses paid or payable under the medical payments coverage of the same policy. The Supreme Court upheld the non-duplication clause in the State Farm policy, declaring it to be valid and enforceable.

This is a harmful decision for auto accident victims in Ohio. If you are injured by someone who does not have any insurance, or has insurance coverage less than the amount you have under your uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage, your own insurance company will cover your medical expenses under your medical payments coverage, but will not have to compensate you for those same medical bills under your uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage benefits.

Based upon this new case, our advice is that if we are presenting an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, we will use the injured party's health insurance to pay for medical bills rather than their automobile insurance medical payments coverage. This is the best way to level the playing field with an automobile insurance company today.

The name of this case is State Farm Mut. Automobile Ins. Co. v. Grace, 2009 “ Ohio “ 5934, decided November 17, 2009.