Anyone who has been involved in an Indiana car accident knows that dealing with insurance companies in the wake of the accident can be a real headache. While insurance is mandatory in all states and should act to provide compensation to car accident victims, the reality is that insurance companies are for-profit companies that are financially incentivized to pay out as little as possible for each claim.
In many cases, insurance companies will approach an accident victim early in the recovery process in hopes of getting to them before they speak to an attorney. An employee of the insurance company may try to act like they know what is best for an accident victim, and they will often explain that the claim is worth a certain amount and offer to settle the claim. However, accident victims should be careful when discussing their claims with anyone from the insurance company because in most cases, the offers made to an unrepresented accident victim are low-ball offers to settle claims that may be worth much more.
In other cases, insurance companies will outright deny an accident victim’s claim. This is especially the case when there are unusual facts surrounding the accident. In such cases, the accident victim may be left with no choice but to file a personal injury lawsuit, seeking to compel the insurance company to cover the claim. That is exactly what happened in a recent car accident case in Rhode Island.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was the passenger in a parked car when she witnessed a car accident involving two cars. The plaintiff got out of the car and approached the accident to provide assistance to those involved. As she was standing near the scene, another vehicle did not see the stopped cars on the road and crashed into one of them, causing it to strike the plaintiff.
The plaintiff filed a claim against the third driver’s insurance policy, but that driver had inadequate insurance to cover all of the plaintiff’s expenses, so she filed a claim with the insurance policy of the driver of the car she was initially occupying. That insurance company – the defendant in this lawsuit – denied the plaintiff’s claim, claiming that she was not “occupying” the vehicle at the time of the accident. The woman filed a personal injury claim against the insurance company to compel it to cover her injuries.
The court agreed with the plaintiff that she was indeed “occupying” the covered vehicle and should be covered under the policy. The court explained that the determination of whether she was “occupying” the vehicle depended on more than where she was physically located when she was injured. The court noted that the plaintiff was initially inside the covered vehicle when she witnessed the accident and that she exited the vehicle for the sole purpose of providing assistance. The court also seemed concerned that by determining that the plaintiff was not covered, it would discourage people from helping motorists in need of assistance. In the end, the insurance company was required to pay out on the plaintiff’s claim.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Indiana car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation from one or more parties involved. It is common that at least one insurance company will be involved in the recovery process. The skilled Indiana personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have amassed years of experience dealing with even the most difficult insurance companies, and we have a successful track record across thousands of cases. To learn more about Indiana injury law, and to speak with an attorney about your case, call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation.
Case Claiming Toxic Exposure to MDI Dismissed for Failure to Retain Expert on Causation, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2017
Court Prohibits Playground Injury Lawsuit Against School, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, June 26, 2017