Can Maryland Injury Victims Stack Insurance Policies?

car accidentLast week, we discussed a new Maryland law that required insurance companies to offer Enhanced Underinsured Motorist (EUIM) protection with all new individual insurance policies issued after July 1, 2018. Under the new EUIM framework, an accident victim is able to obtain the full value of their insurance policy without an offset for any compensation provided by the at-fault party’s policy.

This new law represents one form of insurance stacking. Insurance stacking is a term used to describe an accident victim’s ability to recover under multiple insurance policies based on a single accident. Some types of insurance stacking are permitted. For example, under the new EUIM law. However, other accident victims may be prevented from stacking in other situations.

Multiple-Policy Stacking

In the event that an accident victim’s damages are greater than the limit under their insurance policy, the accident victim may be required to cover some of their expenses out-of-pocket. However, if an accident victim is covered under multiple insurance policies, they may wish to file a claim and recover under each policy. Thus, by adding the recovery amounts between multiple policies, an accident victim is able to recover a greater amount.

However, this type of insurance policy stacking is not permitted in Maryland. Thus, if an accident victim is covered under multiple policies, they should file a claim with the policy offering the greatest coverage. Alternatively, if the accident occurred out of the state, or involved an out-of-state motorist, the accident victim may be able to pursue a claim under that state’s law.

In a recent insurance-stacking case, a court considered whether an insurance company properly denied a plaintiff’s car accident claim although the insurance company had approved a similar claim for the plaintiff in the past. In that case, the plaintiff was injured by an underinsured motorist, and filed a claim with his own insurance policy. The plaintiff recovered the policy maximum under that policy, and also filed a claim with his mother’s insurance policy.

The plaintiff’s mother’s insurance company denied that claim, arguing that the state did not permit insurance stacking. The plaintiff argued that the insurance company have approved a similar claim that he had field a few years earlier. The insurance company admitted that it had approved the prior claim in error, and argued that their previous mistake was no reason to require them to approve a claim that would otherwise be denied. The court agreed with the insurance company and dismissed the plaintiff’s case. The court explained that the plaintiff’s interpretation would lead to an “absurd result” in that the insurance company would forever be barred from raising the anti-stacking defense in any claim made by the plaintiff.

Are You Dealing with a Difficult Insurance Company?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, and you are currently dealing with a difficult insurance company, contact the dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent injury victims in all types of Maryland car accident claims, and help our clients deal with aggressive and unrelenting insurance companies. To learn more about how we can help you with your Maryland car accident claim, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

City May Be Liable for Injuries Following Accident Caused by Fallen Stop Sign, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published September 4, 2018.

Court Upholds Accident Victim’s Preferred Venue in Recent UIM Case, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published August 28, 2018.

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