Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury lawsuit brought against an insurance company by the insured. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s eight-month delay in reporting the accident to her insurance company excused the insurance company from covering the accident under a clause that the insured must “immediately” notify the insurance company after an accident. Sometimes these issues arise in Maryland car accident cases as well.
Ultimately, the court concluded that, as a matter of law, the plaintiff failed to immediately notify the insurance company. However, since her failure to provide notice may have been excused, the court determined that the case should proceed toward trial for a jury to make that determination.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was involved in a car accident that was caused by another driver. The car the plaintiff was driving at the time was owned by her ex-husband, who had a policy with the defendant insurance company.
Immediately after the accident, the plaintiff sought medical treatment but experienced continuing symptoms. Eight months later, the plaintiff notified the insurance company of the pending lawsuit against the other driver.
The insurance policy contained language requiring that the insured “must submit written proof of the claim to [the company] immediately after the loss.” Additionally, there was language stating that “no legal action may be brought against the company concerning any of the coverages provided until the insured has fully complied with all the terms of the policy.”
The insurance company argued that the plaintiff failed to comply with the terms of the policy because she did not provide immediate notice of the accident. The trial court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s case. The plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the court determined that, based on the eight-month delay in notifying the insurance company, the plaintiff failed to provide immediate notice. However, the court also held that there was a material issue of fact regarding whether the plaintiff’s delay in providing notice was excused. The court explained that, according to the plaintiff, she was not immediately aware of the extent of her injuries and that as soon as she was made aware, she notified the insurance company. Given this fact, the court determined that a jury, rather than a judge, should make the determination if the plaintiff was excused from providing immediate notice.
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. The dedicated Maryland car accident lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience representing victims in all types of car accident claims, including those involving difficult insurance companies. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case. Calling is free, and you will not be billed for our services unless we are able to help you recover compensation for your injuries.
More Blog Posts:
Court Finds Used-Car Dealer May Be Liable for Plaintiffs’ Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published June 4, 2018.
Plaintiff’s Case Dismissed Based on Misleading Testimony Regarding Previous Injuries, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published May 16, 2018.