Articles Posted in Insurance Companies

In some Maryland auto accident cases, insurance coverage for personal injuries may be available under multiple policies.  Generally, the laws of the state in which the policy was issued govern coverage disputes.   In a September 21, 2021 case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered whether underinsured motorist coverage was available for a Delaware resident under an insurance policy issued to a Maryland resident.

The plaintiff in the case was a Delaware resident.  She was named as an “additional driver” of a vehicle insured by her daughter, a Maryland resident, under a Maryland auto insurance policy.  The plaintiff was injured in an accident in Delaware, in which she was the passenger of a car that was not insured by the Maryland policy at issue.  The plaintiff settled with the driver’s insurance company for his policy limits of $15,000, which was insufficient to cover all of her damages.  The plaintiff then claimed underinsured motorist benefits under the Maryland policy issued to her daughter, which the insurance company denied.

The plaintiff filed suit against the insurance company that issued her daughter’s policy.  When the circuit court granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff appealed to the higher court.

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For victims of hit-and-run accidents in Maryland, seeking compensation for injuries may seem hopeless.  In many cases, uninsured motorist coverage may be available through an auto insurance policy held by the driver or injured passenger.  In a September 13, 2021 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered whether or not an insurance company wrongfully denied the plaintiff’s claim for uninsured motorist benefits.

The plaintiff in the case was riding as a passenger in her daughter’s vehicle when they were rear-ended by a truck.  The truck then fled the scene before the driver could be identified.  At the time of the accident, the plaintiff and her daughter lived in the same household.  The plaintiff’s daughter was insured under a policy that provided uninsured motorist coverage of up to $30,000 per individual.  The plaintiff held a separate policy issued by the same insurer, with limits of $300,000 per individual for uninsured motorist coverage.

Because the plaintiff’s medical expenses exceeded the amount of her daughter’s policy limits, the plaintiff sought uninsured motorist benefits under both policies.  The insurance company accepted the claim made under her daughter’s policy, but denied the claim made under her own policy.  The plaintiff subsequently filed suit against the insurer for breach of the insurance contract.  After the circuit court granted summary judgment for the insurer, the plaintiff appealed to the higher court.

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In some Maryland car accident cases, the driver who caused the collision is not insured, or does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for the entire amount of damages for which they are liable.  However, if you have underinsured motorist coverage from your own auto insurer, you may file a claim to recover payment for your remaining medical expenses when the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are insufficient.  Pursing a claim with an insurance company may be difficult, but you have the option of retaining legal representation at any time.  A Maryland car accident attorney can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf and attempt to negotiate an acceptable settlement.

In an August 20, 2019 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reviewed an appeal from a plaintiff that had filed an underinsured motorist claim with his insurance carrier for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision.  When his claim was denied, he brought the instant lawsuit against his insurance company.  Although he was advised repeatedly by the court to hire counsel, he proceeded as a pro se litigant and represented himself.

In his lawsuit, the plaintiff stated that he suffered serious and permanent physical injuries in a motor vehicle collision that occurred in December of 2009.  He also alleged that the costs of his medical treatment and related expenses exceeded the $20,000 policy limits of the other driver’s Maryland insurance policy.  The plaintiff therefore sought coverage from the uninsured/underinsured motorist policy he held with his auto insurance company, which had a policy limit of up to $100,000.

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Filing an insurance claim after a car accident can be overwhelming.  Many people seek guidance from a Maryland injury attorney to help them navigate through the process.  In a July 12, 2018 case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland decided a complex dispute between two insurance companies.  The primary issue was which company’s policy provided primary coverage to an injured claimant.

The claimant in the case was a passenger of an automobile that was involved in an accident.  The driver of the other vehicle that caused the accident was uninsured.  The claimant was insured by the plaintiff (Company A), while the owner of the automobile she rode in was insured by the defendant (Company B).  Both of the policies provided uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage and it was not disputed that UM/UIM coverage was available to the claimant.  However, the Company B policy had a UM/UIM limit of $100,000, while the limit under the Company A policy was $300,000.  The dispute was whether one policy provided primary UM/UIM coverage, or whether both policies provided coverage on a pro rata basis.

Company A argued that Company B was the primary carrier, so Company B must pay out its full policy limit of $100,000 before Company A has any obligation to cover the remaining amount.  Company B argued that the dispute must be resolved by looking to the language of the insurance contracts, which limited its obligation pro rata to coverage of other primary insurers.

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After a car accident, a claim for medical expenses and other damages is typically submitted to the insurance company.  If the insurance company delays or refuses to pay the claim, however, accident victims may be unsure of their legal recourse.  Many people choose to hire a Maryland car accident attorney to file an insurance claim on their behalf and represent them in any subsequent legal action.  A lack of legal knowledge and training could be detrimental in bringing a lawsuit against a big insurance company.

In a June 12, 2018 case, the plaintiff represented himself in a lawsuit against his insurance company to recover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.  The plaintiff in the case had been involved in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured motorist.  The plaintiff’s insurance company paid him the $2,500 policy limit of his personal injury protection benefits as a result of the accident.  Thereafter, the plaintiff sought additional coverage pursuant to his uninsured motorist policy for medical expenses he incurred approximately six months after the accident to treat whiplash.  The insurance company rejected the claim, and the plaintiff filed a lawsuit with the Maryland circuit court.

The plaintiff’s bad faith claim and claim for punitive damages were dismissed by the court, and the matter went to trial on the breach of contract claim.  At trial, the plaintiff attempted to introduce his medical records and bills without expert testimony.  The court sustained the insurance company’s objection, ruling that the plaintiff could not testify as to the medical opinions, diagnoses, or amount of the bills.  Consequently, and due to the lack of expert testimony, the court granted the insurance company’s motion for judgment, concluding that the plaintiff had failed to prove his claim that the insurance company had breached their contract.  The plaintiff then appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

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It is important to be aware of changes in Maryland motor vehicle insurance laws that may affect your coverage with your automobile insurer.  A January 31, 2018 Maryland car accident case before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland illustrates the difficulties that may arise if coverage expectations are not met.

In the case, the plaintiff brought suit against her own insurance company for uninsured motorist (UM) benefits after she was involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver and suffered injuries.  The insurance company denied her claim, arguing that her UM coverage was limited to $75,000, despite a $300,000 liability limit on her policy.

Under Maryland’s motor vehicle insurance laws, unless waived, the amount of UM coverage provided under a car insurance policy must equal the amount of liability coverage provided under the policy. The statute requiring equal coverage was effective only for motor vehicle insurance policies issued or delivered on or after October 1, 1992.  To waive equality coverage, the first named insured must sign a statement in writing to that effect.

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Disagreements between victims and an insurance company regarding coverage for a car accident are common.  In some instances, legal action is taken to address the dispute.  In a January 8, 2018 case, the plaintiffs brought suit against their insurance company for denying their claim.  After the trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, the insurance company appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The plaintiffs in the case owned two vehicles, which were insured by two different insurance companies.  One car was insured by the defendant with uninsured/underinsured limits of $100,000.  Their van was insured by a different company under a policy with uninsured/underinsured limits of $50,000.

The plaintiffs were driving the van when another car collided with them.  The other driver was determined to be at fault for the accident.  Accordingly, the driver’s insurance company settled with the plaintiffs for the full amount of the driver’s policy limit of $50,000.  The plaintiffs then filed a uninsured/underinsured claim under their policy with the defendant on their other car, seeking coverage in excess of the $50,000 settlement.  The defendant denied the plaintiffs’ claim for uninsured/underinsured coverage, based on the owned-but-otherwise-insured exclusion.

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With the state’s abundance of older buildings and housing structures, many Maryland residents have suffered from exposure to lead-based paint. Some Maryland lead paint victims have pursued a negligence claim against their landlords and property owners to recover compensation for their injuries. A December 18, 2017 decision by the Court of Appeals of Maryland is relevant to consider when bringing a claim arising out of lead exposure, particularly against out-of-state insurance companies and property owners.

The matter was brought before the Maryland court by the U.S. District Court, before which was pending a lead paint case. The District Court sought an answer to the question of whether the pollution exclusion contained in the defendant’s Georgia insurance policy, which excluded coverage for bodily injuries resulting from the ingestion of lead-based paint, violated Maryland public policy.

The plaintiffs in the case had been exposed to lead-based paint at a property owned by the defendant in Maryland. The plaintiffs brought suit against the defendant and the defendant’s insurance company, claiming that the insurance company was obligated to indemnify the defendant. The insurance company contended that it was under no such obligation, since the defendant’s general liability insurance policy, which was purchased in Georgia, did not cover injuries resulting from pollutants such as lead-based paint. The plaintiffs argued that the exclusion, although valid under Georgia law, was against Maryland’s public policy and could not be enforced in the state.

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Insurance coverage can be crucial if substantial damages are awarded in a personal injury claim. In some instances, the plaintiff must undergo another court battle against the defendant’s insurance company to obtain a judgment. Guidance from an experienced Maryland premises liability attorney is particularly beneficial in cases involving insurance firms, as demonstrated in a July 27, 2017 case.

The plaintiff in the case had visited a pub to watch a basketball game. As he was opening the door to exit the pub, he was struck by a bullet. The shooter was neither apprehended nor identified. The pub and the plaintiff reached a consent judgment agreement, in which the pub admitted negligence and agreed to a settlement of $100,000 for medical expenses and noneconomic damages. Thereafter, the plaintiff made a demand on the pub’s insurance company for payment of the settlement, which was denied. The plaintiff then filed an action for breach of contract against the insurance company. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and awarded damages in the amount of $100,000. The insurance company appealed the decision to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The policy at issue contained an provision that excluded coverage for bodily injuries arising out of assault and battery. The primary issue for the court, therefore, was whether or not the shooting incident constituted a battery under the policy exclusion. The appeals court noted that there was no evidence regarding the identity of the shooter or whether the shooting was intentional or accidental. The absence of such evidence also raised the question of whether the intent of the shooter must be established to distinguish the injury from one that arises out of an accident. The court answered the question affirmatively, explaining that if evidence of intent was not necessary, virtually all bodily injuries caused by another person would be barred under the policy exclusion, including accidental injuries.

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Insurance companies who deny coverage to their insureds after a Maryland car accident can be held liable in court. In a September 26, 2017 opinion, the Court of Appeals of Maryland reviewed a jury verdict that awarded an $8,000 judgment to the plaintiff in his action against his insurance company. The plaintiff brought an appeal for the rest of the amount he claimed for his non-economic damages.

The plaintiff in the case alleged that he was injured in an automobile accident when another motorist negligently collided with the side of his vehicle at a stop sign intersection. The driver of the other vehicle and his passenger jumped out of the vehicle and ran from the scene of the accident. The police could not determine the identity of the other driver because the vehicle had been stolen prior to the accident. Nor could the owner of that vehicle be liable for damages.

After the accident, the plaintiff received medical treatment from a chiropractor. He then filed a claim with his insurance company, seeking uninsured motorist benefits under his policy. The uninsured motorist benefits provision allowed him coverage in the event that he was in an accident with someone who didn’t have insurance. The insurance company admitted it was responsible for the claim but disputed the amount owed to the plaintiff. The case went to trial, where the issue for the jury, therefore, was the amount of damages that the plaintiff was entitled to receive.

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