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.
On appeal, the plaintiff contended that the trial judge erred in disallowing proof about the breach of contract claim. The plaintiff sought to explain the reason and nature of the dispute with the insurance company, arguing that it would not have prejudiced the insurance company and that leaving out the information forced the jury to speculate about the basic facts of the litigation. The appeals court, however, noted that the plaintiff’s attorney was allowed to discuss the matter of the parties’ insurance contract in her opening argument. The court further found that the plaintiff did not object to the jury instructions, which did not ask the jury to decide any question about the contract. Accordingly, the court determined that there was no possibility that the jury had to speculate about the contractual nature of the dispute.
The plaintiff then argued that the trial court failed to allow additional arguments on the key elements of the uninsured motorist claim. The appeals court disagreed, concluding that even if the court had erred, the plaintiff was not prejudiced by the error. Ultimately, the court affirmed the $8,000 jury verdict, finding no prejudicial error existed to justify a reversal.
The Maryland car accident attorneys at Foran & Foran help victims of negligence seek recovery for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. We have successfully represented plaintiffs in car accident cases, medical malpractice actions, premises liability claims, and many other personal injury matters. Call our office at (301) 441-2022 or contact us online to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.
More Blog Posts:
Pedestrian Hit by Car Sues Driver for Negligence in Maryland Personal Injury Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published August 8, 2017
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