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Rockland family suing insurer for failing to pay claims in accident that severed boy's hand [Bangor Daily News, Maine]

By Stephen Betts, Bangor Daily News, Maine
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Feb. 01--ROCKLAND, Maine -- The family of a 5-year-old boy whose hand was severed in June and later reattached has sued an insurance company for failing to cover claims.

The lawsuit was filed last week on behalf of Cassidy B. Keene of Owls Head and her twin sons Noah and Patrick Keene against Progressive Northwestern Insurance Company for more than $200,000.

Noah Keene was injured last summer while playing with a jump rope in the back seat of his grandmother's car as they were driving down the road. At one point he had one end tied around a wrist and the other end dangling out the car window, when the rope got caught on a tire, according to the accident report.

The Keenes' lawsuit seeks to have Progressive pay the maximum amount for Noah Keene as well as for the emotional injuries for Patrick Keene and their mother.

Progressive also insured the boys' grandmother, Sharon Setz, who was driving the car when the accident occurred in downtown Rockland. Her motor vehicle policy had a maximum payout of $100,000.

The boy's father had filed a lawsuit against Setz but pointed out it was done only so that the insurance company would pay out for his son. The lawsuit was dismissed when the insurance company agreed to pay $102,000, which went to benefit Noah and his brother.

The Keenes, however, claim they should also be covered by Cassidy Keene's Progressive automobile liability policy through the underinsured motorist part of her policy.

The suit claims that Progressive has indicated it will pay $50,000 to Noah Keene but disputes the amount of coverage available for Cassidy and Patrick Keene. The Keenes maintain that the insurer is responsible for paying up to $100,000 per person injured in an accident.

The suit states that both boys suffered in the crash. Patrick witnessed the accident and helped search for his brother's severed hand in the road. The mother suffered emotional distress and lost wages as a result of the accident.

The lawsuit against Progressive claims that the insurer has attempted to circumvent state law in its policy language by eliminating any claims by Cassidy or Patrick Keene.

The Keenes are asking the court to declare that the Progressive policy is in violation of state law. In addition to $200,000, the suit seeks payment of attorney and court fees.

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The Keenes are represented by attorney Sarah Irving Gilbert of Camden.

Jeff Sibel, a public relations representative with Progressive, said Friday afternoon that the company is working with Cassidy Keene and it hopes to reach an agreement with the family in what he said was a tragic situation.

___

(c)2013 the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine)

Visit the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine) at www.bangordailynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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