While car insurance is supposed to assist Maryland car accident victims in getting back on their feet after an accident, the unfortunate reality is that insurance companies are often looking for ways to get out of paying up. However, an insurance policy is a legally binding contract, whereby the insurance company agrees to pay for an accident victim’s costs related to covered claims.
Thus, when an insurance company refuses to pay out on a claim, or it only offers a low-ball settlement offer that does not cover an accident victim’s costs, the accident victim has the right to ask a court to compel the insurance company to pay. When courts are confronted with these cases, they usually start by reading the policy language and determining if the claim was covered.
A recent case illustrates the difficulties one accident victim had when filing an uninsured motorist claim based on injuries that occurred while operating a vehicle that was furnished for his everyday use.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was an employee of a logging company and was allowed free use of a large logging truck. The plaintiff would use the truck five days a week, and while he usually dropped the truck off at his employer’s place of business after work, the employer permitted the plaintiff to keep the truck at his own residence after hours.
One day, the plaintiff was seriously injured while attempting to change a blown tire on the truck. The plaintiff filed a claim with his employer’s insurance policy and was provided with the full policy limit maximum of $100,000. However, since the plaintiff’s injuries exceeded $100,000, he then filed an uninsured motorist claim with his own insurance policy.
The Plaintiff’s Insurance Policy
The plaintiff’s insurance policy provided uninsured motorist protection. However, the policy defined an uninsured vehicle as “a motor vehicle, other than a motor vehicle owned by or furnished for the regular use of the named insured . . . as to which there is [inadequate coverage].” Thus, coverage was only available when the vehicle involved in the accident was 1.) not owned by the insured and 2.) not furnished for the insured’s regular use.
Here, it was clear that the logging truck did not belong to the plaintiff. However, the court determined that the truck was furnished for the plaintiff’s regular use. The court noted that the plaintiff used the truck every work day and was able to take the truck home after work. The court was not concerned that the plaintiff rarely used the truck after hours, instead focusing on the plaintiff’s ability to use the truck had he desired to do so.
As a result of the court’s decision, the plaintiff will not be permitted to obtain compensation from his own insurance policy under the uninsured motorist protection clause.
Have You Been Involved in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a Maryland car accident, and you are currently dealing with a difficult insurance company, the Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC may be able to help. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have decades of experience representing Maryland victims and their families against uncooperative insurance companies. We fight hard on our clients’ behalf to ensure that they pursue the compensation they deserve for the injuries they have suffered. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Discusses Plaintiff’s Duty to Preserve Evidence in Recent Car Accident Case, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published April 3, 2018.
Court Discusses Government Immunity as It Pertains to the Placement of Road Signs, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published April 17, 2018.