In the aftermath of a Maryland car accident, a victim may have multiple sources from which to recover financially. This compensation can help pay for medical bills and other costs incurred as a result of the injuries. For instance, a plaintiff may be eligible for some money from their insurance company. However, money received from an insurance company may affect a plaintiff’s potential civil suit against the wrongdoer, because personal injury laws typically try to avoid allowing a plaintiff from being “unjustly enriched” by obtaining more compensation than needed for their injuries.
Take a recent Virginia case, for example. The Supreme Court of Virginia, in a recent written opinion, held that a Virginia car accident victim could receive monetary compensation from both her insurance company and the defendant responsible for the accident.
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was driving down the road when the defendant pulled out of her driveway and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff suffered significant injuries as a result of the accident and had to undergo multiple extensive surgeries. Accordingly, the plaintiff filed suit to seek compensation for her injuries.
The defendant’s motor insurance at the time of the accident was significantly less than the plaintiff’s. Because the plaintiff also had insurance coverage for accidents involving underinsured motorists, the plaintiff served a copy of her lawsuit to her insurance company. The plaintiff and her insurance company then reached a settlement, and the insurance company paid the plaintiff $750,000. The plaintiff’s suit against the defendant continued through trial, where the jury awarded the plaintiff $1,500,000 in damages. The defendant appealed the judgment, arguing that the $750,000 the plaintiff already received from their insurance company should offset the $1,500,000, making her only liable for the remaining $750,000.
Different states have varying laws about how to handle situations such as this, and navigating these tricky situations are essential for a plaintiff to get all the monetary compensation they are due. In the case above, the court ultimately decided that the defendant was liable for the full amount under Virginia law. The court reasoned that the money from the insurance company was because the plaintiff elected to pay for increased insurance and was thus a contractual obligation. On the other hand, the defendant should not have to pay less simply because the plaintiff elected to have expensive insurance.
In Maryland, defendants can be liable for the full amount of their wrongdoing, even if the plaintiff has received money from another source. However, defendants may attempt to lessen their liability, and it can be difficult for accident victims to handle increasingly complicated suits while simultaneously recovering from their injuries. Having the aid of an experienced personal injury attorney can ensure that plaintiffs recover fully for the harm they have suffered.
Need A Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you or a loved one have recently been injured in a Maryland or Washington, D.C. accident, contact one of our dedicated personal injury attorneys today. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, we help clients in Maryland or Washington D.C. area recover financial compensation in Maryland car accident cases, slip and fall claims, and other accidents. Call us today for a free, no-risk consultation at (800) 654-1949, or contact us online to set up your appointment.