Maryland Plaintiffs Seek Underinsured Motorist Coverage Through Victim’s Employer After Death

If a negligent driver doesn’t have adequate insurance to fully compensate you for the loss you suffered in an accident, you may have to seek uninsured or underinsured coverage from your own insurance company. You can avoid some frustration by hiring an experienced Maryland car accident attorney to advance your claim and pursue damages in court upon a denial, as the plaintiffs did in a November 3, 2017 case before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. After their insurance company denied coverage for the wrongful death of their son, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against them in court.

The victim in the case was killed on the job by a motorist as he was directing traffic in a construction zone. The company for which the victim worked was insured by the defendant. The surviving family members sought to collect underinsured motor vehicle benefits from the defendant, after the motorist’s insurance coverage of $100,000 had been paid out and was exhausted. The defendant denied the claim, alleging that the employer’s policy with the defendant did not provide uninsured or underinsured coverage for its employees or their survivors.

Generally, Maryland courts will first look at the insurance policy contract to determine the rights and obligations of the parties, interpreting the plain meaning of the language.  Only when the language is ambiguous may the court consider evidence outside the context of the contract.

The policy at issue in the case was purchased and held by the victim’s employer.  Specifically, the policy included uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for “you and your legal representative.”  Although the term “legal representative” was undefined in the policy, the court found that the term was not ambiguous and was clearly understood to mean a person with the ability to bring a case on behalf of the named insured, i.e., the employer.  The court concluded that as used in the policy, the term referred only to the legal representative of the employer.  Since the victim was not a named insured in the contract, the court held that his wrongful death beneficiaries were not covered under the employer’s policy.  The court went on to find that “you” as referenced in the policy clearly referred to the employer of the victim and did not extend coverage to the victim or the plaintiffs in the case.  Accordingly, without coverage, the plaintiffs could not recover additional damages from the employer’s insurance company.

At the Maryland firm of Foran & Foran, P.A., our personal injury attorneys assist plaintiffs in seeking compensation for their injuries.  We handle negligence claims arising out of faulty medical treatment, car accidents, slip and falls, and many other situations.  To schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable accident lawyer at Foran & Foran, P.A., call (301) 441-2022 or contact us online. We get paid only if we obtain compensation for you.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Plaintiffs May Bring Wrongful Death Action Despite Successful Personal Injury Claim of Decedent, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published August 15, 2016

Maryland Court Rules for Plaintiff in Wrongful Death Appeal Regarding Venue, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published April 25, 2017

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