Contractual Disputes Between Maryland Policyholders and Insurance Companies

When an individual is involved in a Maryland car accident, one of the first steps that they may take to recover for their damages is to file a claim with their or the at-fault party’s car insurance company. Although many people expect their insurance company to protect them in these instances, there are several reasons that an insurance provider may deny coverage. Moreover, in some cases, Maryland insurance companies will deny applications to renew existing policies. Maryland motorists and accident victims should contact an attorney to determine their rights and remedies in these situations.

Often, car insurance providers will deny coverage to those individuals that they believe are likely to be involved in an accident, such as those who have a significant number of traffic violations, are too young or too old, have poor credit, or live out of the coverage area. In other cases, even if a person receives coverage, their insurance company may deny a specific claim. For example, a Maryland car insurance company may deny a claim if the other party claims that the policyholder is at fault.

Maryland is one of the only states that continues to follow pure contributory negligence rules. A Maryland driver who possesses any level of responsibility, even five percent, is not entitled to compensation. Insurance companies may also deny coverage if they do not believe that the claimant suffered any physical injuries. Finally, insurance companies may deny a claim by asserting that the policy does not cover the specific situation that occurred. This often happens when a claimant indicates that they are refusing specific coverage when signing the insurance policy.

For example, recently, an appellate court issued an opinion in a case stemming from a denial of insurance coverage after a policyholder’s wife suffered injuries in a car accident in March 2017. In this case, the policyholder and insurance company signed an agreement in February 2017. The man requested bodily injury and property damage coverage, but denied uninsured motorist coverage, and he elected to exclude his wife as a covered driver. The man inadvertently signed the documents with the incorrect date of May 23, 2017, instead of February 23, 2017. The insurance company denied coverage, arguing that the man explicitly denied coverage for his wife. The insurance company moved for summary judgment, and the claimant argued that the discrepancy in the dates precludes summary judgment.

On appeal, the court reasoned that insurance contracts should be strictly construed in favor of the insured. This typically means that when a provision can be interpreted in two different ways, the court will view it in favor of the insured. However, the interpretation must be reasonable. In this case, the claimant argues that the May date does not refer to the date that he applied for insurance but rather the date that rejection should go into effect. Ultimately, the court found that because the claimant did not provide any proof of his intent, the insurance company’s contention that the discrepancy was scrivener’s error is enough to grant them summary judgment.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries in a Maryland car accident, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience handling complex personal injury cases, including those stemming from car and truck accidents, medical malpractice, slip and falls, and worksite injuries. We have successfully advocated and recovered significant compensation on behalf of our clients against negligent drivers and insurance companies. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free initial consultation with a Maryland accident attorney.

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