Earlier this month, an appellate court in Kentucky issued an interesting opinion in a car accident case that may be of interest to Maryland car accident victims who are considering filing a claim with their insurance company. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether an insurance company can require accident victims to submit to questioning under oath before approving a claim. Ultimately, since the questioning at issue was related to the underlying accident, which in turn related to the vehicle’s coverage, the court held that the insurance company was permitted to question the accident victims under oath.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiffs were several people in the same vehicle who were injured in a rear-end accident while they were stopped at a red light. The vehicle that struck the car occupied by the plaintiffs fled the scene, and no information was obtained to help locate the vehicle.
After the accident, several of the plaintiffs filed a claim with the driver’s insurance policy. In the processing of their claims, the plaintiffs each answered questions related to the accident. Specifically, the questions were regarding where the plaintiffs were going, where they had come from, and so on. The plaintiffs also answered questions from the police officer who arrived on the scene after the accident.
After reviewing the answers provided by the plaintiffs, the insurance company believed that there was contradictory information and requested that each of the plaintiffs be questioned under oath. The insurance company was also concerned that the plaintiffs had been involved in a number of motor vehicle accidents within the same calendar year. The plaintiffs refused, and in turn the insurance company refused to pay out on their claims. The plaintiffs then filed a personal injury lawsuit against the insurance company, asking the court to compel the insurance company to pay out on their claims.
The insurance company’s position was that the plaintiffs were required to submit to the questioning, and if they refused, the insurance company was within its rights to deny the claim. The insurance company pointed to specific language in the insurance contract – in which none of the plaintiffs was named as insured – that permitted the insurance company to require questioning under oath in certain circumstances.
The court agreed with the insurance company, determining that the lower court was proper to dismiss the plaintiffs’ case because they refused to submit to the questioning. The court explained that the insurance company’s questioning could only cover accident-related issues and could not inquire about medical issues. However, since the questions the insurance company sought to have the plaintiffs answer were related to the accident, the court held that the insurance company had the right to demand questioning under oath prior to approving the claim.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience representing accident victims in cases against uncooperative insurance companies. We understand how insurance companies think, and we know how to successfully navigate our clients’ cases through the system to maximize their recovery. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney today.
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Court Allows Evidence of “Other Similar Incidents” in Recent Product Liability Car Accident Case, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published July 11, 2017.