Auto insurance coverage is required in Indiana, and most motorists are familiar with the coverage they have and how to go about using it when the need arises. However, the contract that is entered into between a motorist and an insurance company is lengthy, and most motorists do not take the time to read over the entire policy but instead skim the declarations page to gain a basic understanding of their coverage.
However, insurance contracts are long, complicated documents that often require trained eyes to understand and interpret. In fact, there may even be errors or internally inconsistent clauses in an insurance contract that can create confusion for motorists hoping to seek reimbursement for expenses related to property damage or personal injuries. In fact, a recent case in front of the Indiana Supreme Court illustrates how these confusions can arise and what courts can do to resolve problems when they arise.
State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance v. Jakubowicz
Jakubowicz and her two children were injured as a result of an accident caused by a third party. After the accident, Jakubowicz filed a personal injury claim against the third party’s insurance company, seeking compensation for her family’s medical expenses. However, while that claim was being processed, Jakubowicz realized that the total available amount available under that driver’s policy was not going to cover her family’s injuries. She then filed a claim under her own insurance with State Farm, under the underinsured motorist provision. This claim was filed over three years after the accident.
State Farm denied Jakubowicz’s claim, pointing to a clause in the insurance contract stating that all claims must be filed within three years of the accident. In response, Jakubowicz argued that the policy also required she exhaust all other policy amounts from other drivers involved in the accident, and this is why she had waited to file her claim.
The two parties couldn’t agree on how to interpret the insurance contract, and Jakubowicz filed a case against State Farm, asking the courts to decide. The court agreed that there was an inconsistency in the insurance contract and that it may create confusion. The court decided that it would resolve any inconsistency in the contract in favor of the insured. In part, this is because the insurance company was the one that wrote the contract, and it is responsible for putting together a document that is consistent and clearly outlines each party’s rights and responsibilities. In fact, Indiana court often resolve discrepancies in insurance contracts in favor of the insured, but this is not always the case, and each case should be analyzed by an experienced personal injury attorney.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of serious Indiana car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, you will need to deal with insurance companies along your road to recovery. The skilled Indiana car accident attorneys at the law firm of Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson have extensive experience handling all kinds of personal injury cases on behalf of their clients, and we know what it takes to be successful in Indiana courts. Call 888-532-7766 to set up your free consultation today.
Statutes of Limitations in Indiana Medical Malpractice Cases, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, August 4, 2016
Product Liability Lawsuit Dismissed Based on “Optional Equipment Doctrine”, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, August 18, 2016