Court Finds Driver’s Uninsured Motorist Claim Should Not Be Reduced by Amount Already Paid by Insurance

Car accidents happen all of the time and often result in serious injuries. Normally, an injured party can recover compensation for their injuries from another driver if the other driver was at fault for the accident. However, many drivers fail to obtain the proper insurance for their vehicles. In that situation, this means an injured motorist can only recover compensation if they have uninsured motorist coverage through their own insurance.

Car AccidentIn a recent case, a court considered a claim for uninsured motorist coverage and found the driver was able to receive his award without having it reduced by the money already paid by his insurer. The man was in a car accident with an uninsured driver and sustained serious injuries. The man had car insurance, which provided a total of $300,000 in uninsured motorist coverage and $5,000 in medical payments. His insurer paid the man’s medical bills up to the policy limit of $5,000 for medical payments in his policy. The man also made a claim for uninsured motorist coverage, but his insurer disputed the claim.

The man filed a lawsuit against his insurer for refusing to pay. The court found in his favor and awarded him over $68,000. But the court reduced the award by the $5,000 already paid by his insurer for medical bills. However, the state’s supreme court found the award should not have been reduced by $5,000. The court explained that statutory language barred the reduction in this case. As a result, the award was reinstated.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Maryland

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage has become an important part of insurance coverage. Under Maryland law, insurers must provide UM coverage to drivers. UM coverage exists so that victims of car accidents can be compensated even if another driver is not insured or is underinsured. In Maryland, the minimum amount required is $30,000 for the injury or death of one person, $60,000 for two or more people, and $15,000 for property damage. Generally, for a UM coverage claim in Maryland, an insured must show that:  1) the person is insured; 2) the person is entitled to recover from an owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle; 3) the person sustained injuries or property damage; and 4) the insured sustained injuries that resulted from the uninsured driver’s use, ownership, or maintenance of the motor vehicle. Uninsured motorist coverage can also apply when another driver has insurance, but it is insufficient to cover the damages.

An uninsured motorist claim is a hybrid claim, since it is a combination of a personal injury claim and a breach of contract claim. Obtaining compensation through uninsured motorist coverage is complicated, and having an experienced attorney is essential.

Contact a Baltimore Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, and another driver does not have insurance or is underinsured, you need to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we have nearly two decades of experience representing accident victims in Baltimore and across the Maryland and Washington, D.C. region. Our attorneys understand that car accidents, medical malpractice, pharmacy errors, and other careless acts can have a permanent and devastating impact on victims and families. We are prepared to vigorously assert your rights and to help you seek the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 1-800-654-1949 or 410-654-3600 or contact us online.

More Blog Posts:

Determining Liability in Maryland Multi-Car Accidents, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published November 2, 2016.

Head-On Collisions Are Often a Result of Distracted or Aggressive Driving, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published November 15, 2016.

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