Motorcyclist sues insurer over failure to cover underinsured driver

Kelly Holleran Jan. 25, 2010, 5:50am

A motorcyclist has filed suit against the underinsured driver that strayed into his lane and struck him.

Ernest Chapman claims he was driving a motorcycle west on College Street on April 24 when suddenly a vehicle being driven by defendant Cheryl Ensley and owned by defendant Tom Brottem failed to maintain a single lane, causing an accident.

According to the complaint filed Jan. 15 in Jefferson County District Court, at the time of the accident, defendant Great American Insurance Co. was supposed to provide uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. However, the insurance company has not provided funds for the underinsured provision of the policy, the suit states.

Because of the accident, Chapman incurred medical costs; lost earnings; and suffered physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment and physical disfigurement, the complaint says.

Chapman blames Ensley for causing the accident, saying she failed to maintain a proper lookout, failed to maintain proper control of the vehicle, failed to give appropriate attention to the operation of the vehicle and failed to maintain a single lane of travel. In addition, Ensley negligently failed to timely apply her brakes, according to the complaint.

Brottem should never have entrusted his vehicle to Ensley, the suit claims.

Chapman is seeking an unspecified judgment, plus interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

John M. Lane of Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A185-718.

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