Maryland Car Accident Victim Sues Her Insurer for Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Fighting with an insurance company after a car accident can be frustrating and burdensome.  Accordingly, many people choose to hire a Maryland personal injury attorney to help resolve their claim and obtain payment for their losses.  As demonstrated in a February 22, 2018 case, an accident victim can bring suit against her own insurance company if it refuses coverage for a valid claim.

The plaintiff in the case was involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver and went to the hospital for medical treatment.  She notified the defendant, her insurance company, of the accident.  The defendant denied the plaintiff’s claim for uninsured motorist coverage of her medical expenses and other damages arising from the accident.  The defendant asserted that the plaintiff did not qualify as a family member covered under the policy because she was not a resident of the named insured’s household at the time of the accident.

After the denial of her claim, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendant in district court, alleging that the defendant breached the insurance contract.  She sought damages for her medical bills, pain and suffering, and car rental costs.  After a trial, the court ruled that the plaintiff was a temporary resident of the named insured’s household at the time of the accident, and as a result, she was entitled to uninsured motorist coverage under his automobile policy.  The plaintiff was awarded a judgment against the defendant for her medical bills and general damages.

The plaintiff then filed a complaint with the Maryland Insurance Administration, alleging that the defendant unfairly denied her claim for uninsured motorist coverage.  After a hearing, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) issued its decision, finding that the defendant wrongfully failed to settle the plaintiff’s claim and pay the amount due to her without cause.  The defendant was ordered to pay the outstanding balance of the plaintiff’s medical bills.  However, the plaintiff filed a petition for review of that decision with the circuit court, alleging that the OAH overlooked her rental damages when awarding the judgment.  The plaintiff filed three unopposed motions for an extension of time to obtain the hearing transcript.  The fourth time, the defendant opposed the motion, and the circuit court dismissed the plaintiff’s petition as well as her subsequent motion for reconsideration.

The plaintiff then appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, arguing that the case was dismissed in error.  The appeals court disagreed, noting that the plaintiff was well aware of her duty to provide a transcript for the circuit court to review the administrative proceeding, and despite her efforts, she failed to meet the deadline.  Accordingly, the court held that the circuit court was within its discretion to dismiss the appeal.  Ultimately, although the plaintiff did not recover her rental car costs, she was successful in obtaining her other damages, including medical expenses.

The Maryland car accident lawyers at Foran & Foran represent victims of careless driving and other individuals injured as a result of negligence.  We have experience litigating motor vehicle and truck collision cases, wrongful death actions, medical malpractice claims, and many other personal injury cases.  To consult with one of our knowledgeable attorneys about your accident, call (301) 441-2022 or submit our website contact form.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Jury Finds Defendant Not Cause of Collision Between Plaintiff and Parked Vehicle, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published October 12, 2016

Maryland Court Orders Insurance Company to Cover Loss for Wrongful Death Claims Arising Out of Car Accident, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published August 17, 2016