PINELLAS COUNTY, FL - We're hearing from the insurance company that agreed to pay the families of three deceased teens after the stolen SUV they were in slammed into one of the insurer's clients.
Ricky Melendez was on his way to work early in the morning on August 6 when four teens in a stolen SUV slammed into him. Three of the four teens were killed in the wreck.
Melendez was not at fault, but he’s learned his insurance company, GEICO, has agreed to pay the families of the teens in the stolen SUV $20,000.
"It hurts. I honestly feel like I was involved in another car crash emotionally, just betrayed," Melendez told the Tampa Bay Times.
Geico released a statement to the Tampa Bay Times late Thursday, saying they were protecting their client with the payout. The statement reads, "Our actions were taken to protect Mr. Melendez regardless of the fact that we personally do not believe that he shared any responsibility for this accident, We also made certain that no record of liability was placed against him that would cause his rates to change due to this terrible incident."
Photos: 3 teens dead after Pinellas Co. crash
According to attorneys, the payout isn’t surprising. They say insurance companies often make payouts as protection against possible lawsuits. Whether suits are frivolous or not, court costs can add up quickly.
The Times article goes on to say that if it was discovered later that Melendez was even slightly at fault in the wreck, the families could sue for wrongful death.
Ricky says he was paid $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance or PIP but has already exhausted that money. He's reached $50,000 in medical bills.