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Maryland Pedestrian Struck by Car Sues for Insurance Coverage

Although medical expenses and other losses resulting from a car accident may be covered under more than one insurance policy, as a general rule, you cannot recover duplicate benefits for the same incident.  A Maryland injury attorney can help by pursuing the maximum benefits allowable under the facts of a specific case.

A March 18, 2020 case involving a pedestrian-auto accident illustrates some issues that may arise when multiple sources of coverage may be available.  The plaintiff in the case was on foot and about to enter his company vehicle when he was struck by a car.  He sustained injuries as a result of the accident, which he alleged caused damages of approximately $90,000 to $100,000.

The driver’s insurance company agreed to pay the $30,000 policy limit to the plaintiff.  Because the accident occurred while the plaintiff was working, he filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, for which he received almost $46,000.  The plaintiff was also covered under the insurance policy for the company vehicle, which provided underinsured motorist coverage up to $50,000 per person.  The plaintiff filed suit against the insurer of the company vehicle to recover underinsured motorist benefits.

In Maryland, when a person receives proceeds from the insurance company of the other driver, their own insurance policy limits are reduced by the amount of those proceeds.  In cases where the person also receives workers’ compensation benefits, the policy limits are further reduced by the amount of benefits that are not reimbursed.

On appeal, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals explained that the Maryland statutory scheme was designed to ensure that tort victims receive, from whatever sources, at least the minimum amount of benefits provided by the underinsured motorist coverage, though it may not necessarily make them whole.  As such, any amounts the victim recovers from the other driver’s insurer and from unreimbursed workers’ compensation benefits are subtracted from the liability amount of the victim’s insurer.  If the aggregate benefits are more than the underinsured motorist coverage of the victim’s insurer, the insurer is not required to pay anything.

In the case, the plaintiff used a portion of the other driver’s insurance settlement to reimburse a portion of the workers’ compensation lien, leaving a total of approximately $40,000 in unreimbursed workers’ compensation benefits.  The appeals court determined the aggregate benefits by adding the $40,000 in unreimbursed compensation benefits and the $30,000 that the plaintiff had recovered from the other driver’s insurance policy.  Because the aggregate benefit amount of $70,000 was more than the $50,000 limit of the underinsured motorist policy covering the plaintiff, the court held that the insurer did not owe the plaintiff any coverage for the accident.

If you have been hurt in a pedestrian or auto accident, you can get the legal advice you need from a Maryland injury lawyer.  At Foran & Foran, we have helped many people recover compensation for personal injuries caused by negligent individuals, professionals, and businesses.  Our skilled attorneys can handle cases arising from medical malpractice, premises liability, auto collisions, and many other accidents.  Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers by calling Foran & Foran at (301) 441-2022 or contacting us online.

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