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The Progressive Corp. insurance group is defending itself against an onslaught of negative publicity after it tried to avoid paying $75,000 to the family of a client killed in a car crash and sought to blame the wreck on her.

The criticism began Monday with a blog post from 33-year-old Matt Fisher of Brooklyn, whose sister Kaitlynn Fisher had Progressive insurance and was killed in a June 2010 car crash in Baltimore. In order to avoid the payout to Kaitlynn Fisher's family, Progressive interjected itself into a lawsuit the Fisher family filed against the other driver.

Last week, a jury found the other driver negligent, despite Progressive's efforts to persuade the jury otherwise.

Matt Fisher said Thursday that the deluge of online support his family has received is gratifying. The backlash against Progressive was strong enough that the Ohio-based company felt compelled to issue a public statement on the case. The statement denied Progressive was representing the driver who was ultimately found negligent. And it prompted even further backlash because it failed to acknowledge that, as a practical matter, Progressive's lawyer was indeed working in court as a third party to combat the Fisher family's claims.

While Fisher didn't quite anticipate the wave of support he received, he was sure others who learned about the case would be as shocked as he was that his sister's own insurance company was going to such lengths to cast the blame on her for the accident.


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