Frequently Asked Questions
- Why was the notice issued?
- What is this lawsuit about?
- What is Personal Injury Protection "PIP"?
- Why is this a class action?
- Why is there a settlement?
- How do I know if I’m part of the settlement?
- Are there exceptions to being included?
- I’m not sure if I’m included in the settlement.
- What does the settlement provide?
- How much will my payment be for lost wages?
- How much will my payment be for reasonable medical expenses?
- How much will my payment be for future medical expenses?
- How can I get a payment?
- When will I get my payment?
- What if my Claim Form is rejected or I disagree with the amount of my payment?
- Do I need to do anything to remain in the settlement?
- What am I giving up as part of the settlement?
- How do I get out of the settlement?
- If I didn't exclude myself, can I sue Progressive for the same thing later?
- If I excluded myself, can I get a payment from this settlement?
- How can I tell the Court I don’t like the settlement?
- What’s the difference between objecting to and asking to be excluded?
- Do I have a lawyer in the case?
- How will the lawyers be paid?
- When and where did the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
- How do I get more information?
A Court authorized this notice because you have a right to know about a settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your options, before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the settlement. This notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, and your legal rights.
Judge James Patrick, of the District Court, County of Montrose, State of Colorado, is currently overseeing this case. The case is known as Soto v. Progressive Mountain Ins. Co., No. 2002CV47. The people who sued are called the Plaintiffs. The Defendant is Progressive Mountain Insurance Company ("Progressive").
The lawsuit claimed that Progressive failed to properly explain the additional Personal Injury Protection ("PIP") options available to policyholders before selling them their policies. Progressive denied these claims.
PIP is a type of car insurance that covers medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.
In a class action, one or more people called "Class Representatives" (in this case, Lorenzo Soto and Veronica Taylor) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All of these people are a "Class" or "Class Members." One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.
By agreeing to settle, both sides avoid the cost and risk of trial, and the people affected will get a chance to receive compensation. The Class Representatives and the lawyers representing them think the settlement is best for all Class Members. The settlement does not mean Progressive did anything wrong.
In order to be part of the settlement, you must have met the following requirements:
- Insured under a Colorado automobile insurance policy,
- Filed a personal injury claim for PIP benefits with Progressive after March 11, 1999, and
- Received PIP benefits for that personal injury claim.
The settlement does not include anyone who:
- Received PIP benefits through a Progressive insurance policy that originated between February 4, 2001 and November 1, 2001.
- Received $200,000 or more in PIP benefits through a Progressive insurance policy.
- Has had a court determine that they already settled their claim for PIP benefits with Progressive and signed a release.
If you are not sure whether you are included in the Class, you may call 1-888-256-2601 with questions or refer to Question 6. You may also write with questions to Progressive Colorado Settlement, PO Box 91202, Seattle, WA 98111-9302.
The settlement created a $2.3 million settlement fund to pay eligible Class Members who reached their original limits of coverage for PIP benefits and had additional medical expenses or lost wages as a result of their accident. This could have included lost wages that occurred more than 52 weeks after the accident, lost wages greater than $400 per week, reasonable medical expenses incurred after policy limits were reached, and/or future medical expenses. The cost to administer the settlement, as well as attorney fees and payments to Class Representatives, will come out of this fund (see Question 24). The amount remaining after deducting these costs will be paid to eligible Class Members who submitted valid claims.
The amount of benefits you are eligible to receive from this settlement (including what Progressive has already paid you for PIP benefits under your PIP insurance claim) will not be more than $200,000. Your settlement payment will depend on the amount of your lost wages and medical expenses as well as on the number of valid claims that are filed.
More details are in a document called the Settlement Agreement, which is available here.
Your payment may depend on the amount of lost wages you had as a result of your accident. If you filed a claim, your payment will be determined for you at a later date. The following payment formulas and examples are provided to help you understand the value of the settlement, which may help you decide on your legal rights.
- If you made less than $250 per week at your job, you are not eligible for an additional payment for any lost wages.
- If you made over $250 per week at your job, you can get 150% of any unpaid wage benefits. This amount is calculated as: $125 plus 85% of your remaining average weekly wage minus any lost wage benefits you have already received.
Example: John made $800 per week and was out of work for one month as a result of the accident. Progressive previously paid John $1,600 in lost wage benefits.
Calculation = $125 + (85% x remaining $675) = $573.75 per week
4 weeks x $573.75 = $2,295
$2,295 - $1,600 (amount Progressive already paid) = $695
Potential Settlement Payment = 150% x $695 = $1,042.50
You can get 150% of any (1) reasonable medical expenses that were unpaid because the policy limit was applied (either $25,000 for limited PIP or $100,000 for basic PIP) or (2) reasonable medical expenses that were unpaid because they occurred more than five years after the covered accident. You must show that these medical expenses were caused by the accident.
If any other entity (such as Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, a hospital, or a Health Insurance Company) paid any medical expenses resulting from the auto accident, they may have a medical claim or lien against you. If this is the case, your payment for medical expenses may be delayed and the amount may be reduced.
You can get 150% times the amount of any future reasonable medical expenses which occur more than five years after the accident or exceed the policy limit (either $25,000 for limited PIP or $100,000 for basic PIP). You must show that these medical expenses were caused by the accident.
The deadline to submit a Claim Form was September 30, 2010.
Update: On August 18, 2011, the Settlement Administrator released payments to claimants whose Settlement Payments represented amounts awarded for wage loss only. The parties are currently in the process of investigating the existence of any third party liens or claims against Settlement Payments for medical benefits. Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement governing this Settlement, no Claimant shall receive any Settlement Payment for medical benefits until all of the details regarding the existence and extent of third party lien(s) have been determined. If the lien is equal to or greater than the Settlement Payment for medical benefits, then the Claimant will not receive any Settlement Payment for medical benefits. If the lien is less than the Settlement Payment for medical benefits, then the lien shall be paid first, with any remaining Settlement Payment to be paid to the Claimant. Once the lien research is completed, Claimants who were awarded wage loss payments in addition to medical benefits will receive their distributions.
There is a process in the settlement to resolve disagreements between you and Progressive over whether you are eligible and how much money you should get. You can get further details in the letter you received about your eligibility. More details are available in the Settlement Agreement, which is available here.
You do not have to do anything to remain in the settlement. However, you needed to fill out and submit a Claim Form in order to receive a payment.
Since the settlement became final, you gave up your right to sue Progressive for the claims being resolved by this settlement. The specific claims you gave up against Progressive are described in Section I.A., paragraph 25 of the Settlement Agreement. You "released" Progressive and all related people as described in Section II.H. of the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is available here.
The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so please read it carefully. If you have any questions about what that means, you may speak, for free, with the law firms listed in Question 23, or you may speak with your own lawyer, at your own expense.
The deadline to exclude yourself from the settlement was August 30, 2010.
No. Unless you excluded yourself, you give up the right to sue Progressive for the claims that this settlement resolves.
The deadline to object to the settlement was August 30, 2010.
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.
The Court has appointed Robert B. Carey and Frances R. Johnson of The Carey Law Firm and Steve W. Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP to represent you as "Class Counsel." You do not have to pay Class Counsel. If you wanted to be represented by your own lawyer, and have that lawyer appear in court for you in this case, you could have hired one at your own expense.
The Court approved Class Counsel’s application for an award of the attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $766,590. The Court also approved an award of $5,000 to each of the Class Representatives who helped the lawyers on behalf of the entire Class.
On September 20, 2010, at 10:00 a.m., the Court held a Fairness Hearing in the case known as Soto v. Progressive Mountain Ins. Co., No. 2002CV47 at the District Court, County of Montrose, 1200 N. Grand Ave., Montrose, CO 81401. At the Fairness Hearing, the Court considered whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. Any objections were considered by the Court. The Court also considered how much to pay the lawyers representing Class members. At the hearing, the Court decided to approve the settlement.
This website summarizes the settlement. The Settlement Agreement provides additional details. You may obtain a copy of the Settlement Agreement here. You may also write with questions to Progressive Colorado Settlement, PO Box 91202, Seattle, WA 98111-9302.