Maryland regulates insurance in the state for all Maryland drivers. When a Maryland car accident occurs, compensation is often issued by the insurance companies through the insureds’ insurance policies. If a wrongdoer is not insured, or is underinsured, uninsured motorist coverage normally kicks in. Uninsured motorist coverage covers damages to a victim that are less than the amount of coverage provided under the statute.
Maryland’s uninsured motorist statute was enacted in 1972. The statute was meant to provide protection for individuals injured by uninsured motorists and to allow more injured victims to recover compensation. In 1975, the State made uninsured motorist coverage mandatory for all motor vehicle liability insurers. The term uninsured also now encompasses underinsured vehicles. There is a minimum coverage required by the statute. An insured individual can also buy additional uninsured motorist coverage.
To file an uninsured motorist coverage claim in Maryland, an insured must show proof of being insured, that he is entitled to recover from an uninsured motor vehicle’s owner or operator, that he sustained injuries or property damages, and that the injuries resulted from the uninsured driver’s use, ownership, or maintenance of the motor vehicle.
Policy limitations that do not meet the statutorily required coverages are invalid. Maryland courts have said that the purpose of the statute is to provide coverage allowing the insured to recover to the same extent as if the wrongdoer complied with the state’s minimum requirements. Maryland courts have also stated that the uninsured motorist coverage statute should be construed in favor of innocent victims so that they can be compensated for the injuries they suffer in motor vehicle accidents, or the victim’s family members.
Court Rejects Uninsured Motorist Policy Limits Coverage to Collector Vehicle
A recent decision from a state supreme court considered whether an insurance company could limit uninsured motorist coverage for a collector vehicle to the covered collector vehicle. In that case, the insured was driving his motorcycle and was involved in a fatal crash. His estate filed for uninsured motorist benefits under his insurance policy which was issued for a collector vehicle. The policy limited coverage to accidents involving the collector vehicle, and the insurer denied coverage. The man’s estate filed a lawsuit against the insurer. The insurer argued that the policy which was issued for a collector Corvette vehicle did not cover the motorcycle.
The state’s supreme court found that the policy was not lawful under a state statute. It decided that an insurer that issues a reduced premium collector vehicle policy cannot limit uninsured motorist coverage to accidents that involve the occupancy or use of the collector vehicle. Under the relevant statute, coverage is not limited to certain types of vehicles. Therefore, the policy limitation violated the state statute and the provision was invalid.
Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers
When you are dealing with the aftermath of a serious Maryland car crash, you cannot afford to go it alone or take any chances. The compassionate attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, take pride in advocating for the rights of victims against careless drivers, other defendants, and their insurers. With decades of combined experience, our personal injury lawyers are familiar with the complex issues that can arise in personal injury cases. To set up a free consultation, call us at (410) 654-3600 or toll-free at (800) 654-1949, or you can contact us online.