In the wake of a serious Maryland car accident, accident victims face many difficulties. Of course, these include overcoming the physical and emotional injuries that come along with being involved in a serious accident. However, even after an accident victim has physically recovered as best they can, before they can obtain compensation for their injuries they will likely have to deal with one or more insurance companies.
While Maryland car insurance is required by law and, in theory, operates to the benefit of Maryland accident victims. In reality, insurance companies are for-profit corporations that are motivated by their bottom line. To remain profitable, insurance companies must make more in monthly premiums than they pay out in claims. Thus, insurance companies routinely dispute motorists’ claims or attempt to settle them for as little as possible. A recent opinion issued by a state appellate court illustrates the difficulties a motorist had when trying to file a claim under an underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance policy.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident that was allegedly caused by another driver. The at-fault driver had insufficient insurance coverage to adequately compensate the plaintiff for the injuries he sustained in the accident. The also plaintiff had two insurance policies, one with Allstate as well as a UIM policy with the defendant insurance company.
Evidently, the UIM policy contained language requiring the plaintiff to obtain a certain amount of underlying insurance before the UIM coverage kicks in. Specifically, the UIM policy required the plaintiff maintain limits of $100,000/$300,000. However, the plaintiff’s Allstate policy had limits of $25,000/$50,000.
The plaintiff claimed his injuries exceeded the coverage amount of his Allstate policy. Thus, the plaintiff filed a claim with the defendant insurance company. The defendant insurance company argued that the plaintiff was not entitled to UIM coverage under the policy because he failed to obtain the necessary amount of underlying insurance. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant insurance company was responsible for coverage for amounts over the required amount of underlying insurance. In other words, the plaintiff argued that the defendant insurance company should be liable for any amounts over the $100,000/$300,000 limit, even though he did not have that much insurance.
The court agreed with the plaintiff, finding that the precondition of coverage that the plaintiff maintain underlying insurance conflicted with another term in the insurance contract. The court’s opinion was rather complex and fact-specific, but it goes to show the lengths that insurance companies will go to avoid paying out on a valid claim.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident and are currently dealing with a difficult insurance company, contact the Maryland personal injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we provide diligent, thorough, and zealous representation to accident victims across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. We handle all types of personal injury claims, including car and motorcycle accidents. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Government Liability in Maryland Car Accidents Caused by Dangerous or Poorly Maintained Roads, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 17, 2019.
Employer Liability in Maryland Auto Accidents, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 10, 2019.