Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that illustrates the kinds of difficulties that Maryland car accident victims routinely face when filing claims against an insurance company following an accident. The decision issued by the court held that the plaintiffs were only entitled to $250,000, which was the limit under their single insurance policy, despite the plaintiffs’ claim that they had two policies with the insurance company.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiffs were the surviving family members of two people who were killed in a tragic car accident. The driver responsible for the accident had insufficient insurance coverage to compensate the plaintiffs for their loss, so they filed a claim with their own insurance company under the underinsured motorist provision. The insurance company paid the plaintiffs $250,000, which was the maximum under the policy.
Prior to the accident, the family had insured five cars through the insurance company. However, since there was a maximum of four cars per policy, the insurance company generated two policy numbers. The plaintiffs’ family was issued a single bill for both policies, and the bill contained the following disclaimer:
Please note: our system allows a maximum of four vehicles to be listed on your insurance Policy Declarations. Because you’re insuring more than four vehicles, you are receiving more than one automobile Policy Declarations . . . All your vehicles are insured under one single policy, which means you’ll only have one policy effective date and receive only one bill for the coverage of these vehicles
As noted above, the insurance company paid the plaintiffs $250,000, which was the limit of a single policy. However, the plaintiffs were seeking a total of $500,000, or $250,000 from each policy. The insurance company unsuccessfully moved for summary judgment and then appealed.
On appeal, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s decision, finding that the plaintiffs only had a single policy and that they were only entitled to $250,000. The court explained that the two policy numbers were actually just a single policy, as evidenced by the disclaimer included in the insurance bill. The court also noted that the second policy contained a reference to the first, stating that this amount was “charged to” the initial policy. As a result, the plaintiffs will be limited to the $250,000 figure they received under their single insurance policy.
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 dealing with a difficult insurance company, the dedicated Maryland personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers can help. We have represented thousands of clients in a wide range of Maryland personal injury cases, including car accident claims. We’ve dealt with insurance companies for decades, and we know how to maximize our clients’ recovery. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Maryland car accident attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Plaintiff’s Jury Verdict Affirmed in Recent Product Liability Case Against Auto Manufacturer, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published September 18, 2017.
Insurance Company Permitted to Question Accident Victims Under Oath Prior to Approval of Claim, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published September 4, 2017.