Court Determines Insurance Company Waived Issue by Not Raising It in a Timely Manner

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Florida issued an opinion in a personal injury case that may be of interest to Maryland car accident victims who are considering filing a claim against an insurance company. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s failure to comply with a contractual term in her insurance contract barred her from recovering on her claim. The court explained that the insurance company’s position was correct; however, since it did not raise the issue in a timely manner, the court considered the company’s objections waived.

Insurance ContractThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident that was caused by a driver who did not have adequate insurance to cover the injuries the plaintiff sustained in the accident. However, the plaintiff was covered by two other insurance policies:  her mother’s policy with Allstate and her father’s policy with Geico. The Allstate policy had underinsured motorist protection of $25,000; the Geico policy’s protection offered $20,000.

The plaintiff filed a claim only with the Allstate policy, claiming that the insurance company should cover her expenses that were not covered by the at-fault driver’s policy. When she filed her claim, the plaintiff averred that all necessary conditions had been satisfied.

Allstate denied the plaintiff’s claim, taking the position that the claim amount should have been offset by the amount that the plaintiff could have recovered through the Geico policy. The lower court agreed, and the plaintiff filed a motion with the court asking it to reconsider its ruling.

During the motion to reconsider, Allstate came up with a new argument. Specifically, it argued that a clause in the plaintiff’s policy required that all other available insurance be exhausted before making a claim under the policy. Allstate argued that since the plaintiff did not exhaust the available insurance through the Geico policy, she should have been precluded from filing a claim with the Allstate policy.

The court acknowledged that Allstate’s interpretation of the contractual clause was correct, but the court determined that Allstate waived the right to enforce the clause by not bringing it up earlier in the proceedings. The court explained that Allstate should have raised the issue in direct response to the plaintiff’s case and not wait until the plaintiff’s motion to reconsider. The court also held that the lower court was improper to reduce the claim amount under the Allstate policy. As a result, the plaintiff will be entitled to recover up to the policy maximum through the Allstate policy.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. The skilled Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience representing victims in a wide range of accidents, including car accidents. To learn more about how the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen can help you with your case, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Plaintiff’s Car Accident Case Nearly Dismissed for Failure to Name Proper Party, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published October 10, 2017.

Fireman’s Rule Prevents On-Duty Police Officer from Recovering Compensation After Car Accident, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published October 24, 2017.

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