A Plaintiff involved in a Motor Vehicle accident who was struck by another vehicle without Insurance filed suit in the Superior Court’s in an action she brought for bad faith denial of uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage.
An uninsured driver crashed into the Plaintiff’s car by improperly turning into her lane. The Plaintiff suffered a fractured rib, trauma to the right knee requiring arthroscopic surgery, trauma to the left knee for which she was a candidate for arthroscopic surgery, abrasions, and soft tissue injuries. Throughout the settlement negotiations and the processing of Plaintiff’s claim, the insurance company expressed concerns about whether the Plaintiff’s knee injuries were caused by pre-existing conditions. The record was unclear as to why there were large lapses in time during the settlement negotiations. While the parties were waiting for the Independent Medical Examiner report, the Plaintiff filed suit against the Insurance Company, seeking benefits up to the $100,000 policy limits, as well as punitive damages against the Insurance Company for bad faith by refusing to pay up to those limits. In support of the bad faith claim, The Plaintiff alleged that the Insurance Company refused to compensate her up to the UM policy limits without any reasonable justification. The Superior Court severed and stayed the bad faith claim pending resolution of the UM damages claim. The parties then stipulated to a partial dismissal of the bad faith claim without prejudice.
The jury returned a $260,000 verdict. The Insurance Company appealed on an evidentiary issue. The Insurance Company ended up paying the full Policy Limit of $100,000.00 as well as costs and interests.
Sometimes the negligent party in a motor vehicle accident does not have sufficient insurance or no insurance at all to cover for victims injuries. It is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to pursue all possible avenues for a recovery. Most people do not understand the need for high coverage limits for underinsured or uninsured benefits under their own auto policy. Often, they learn the hard way when they are involved in an accident and the responsible party does not have insurance. The plaintiff then finds out they do not have enough coverage under their own insurance policy to cover their loss. Attorney Michael Smith at The Mass Injury Group recommends all individuals with an auto policy have “Uninsured” and “Underinsured” coverages of at least $100,000.00. This way, if they are involved in an accident where the responsible party does not have sufficient insurance, they will be protected.