In a recent case in front of the Supreme Court of Alabama, the court dismissed a plaintiff’s personal injury case that he had filed against the company he claimed was responsible for insuring him. In the case, Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange v. Grayson, the court determined that the jury verdict below in favor of the insurance company should stand. As a result of the most recent decision, the plaintiff’s case will not be permitted to proceed against the insurance company.
The Facts of the Case
Grayson was injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by an uninsured motorist. Rather than sue the uninsured motorist, Grayson filed a claim with his own insurance company under the uninsured motorist provision. He obtained the policy limit of $50,000.
Grayson also filed a claim with his brother-in-law’s insurance company, Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE), seeking additional compensation above and beyond that which was paid by his own insurance policy. While Grayson acknowledged that he was not named on the PURE policy, he argued that he was residing with his sister and brother-in-law at the time of the accident, and therefore he should be covered under the policy.
PURE disagreed and asked a court to issue a declaratory judgment, holding that Grayson was not entitled to benefits under his brother-in-law’s policy. A jury trial commenced, and the verdict was in favor of PURE. Grayson then appealed, arguing that the court did not have the power to make the decision as to whether he was covered under the policy because it was never proven that he had already recovered under his own policy. Thus, Grayson made the very technical argument that, since there was no actual controversy before the court, the court lacked the power to issue a binding opinion.
The appellate court disagreed, finding that a court has the power to issue declaratory judgments in cases in which an insurance company disputes coverage. The court explained that trial courts routinely engage in this type of analysis to settle insurance disputes. The court noted that there was contradictory evidence regarding where Grayson lived at the time of the accident, giving additional thrust to the defendant’s argument that there was an actual conflict that needed to be resolved.
Dealing with Difficult Insurance Companies after a Serious Accident
The case discussed above shows how difficult it can be for an accident victim to obtain compensation for their injuries when dealing with insurance companies. Insurance companies are for-profit companies that routinely view claims with an eye toward denial. Anyone who has been involved in an Alabama car accident should seek the counsel of a dedicated personal injury attorney before filing a claim with their insurance company.
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. However, it is almost certain that you will have to deal with at least one insurance company before you receive compensation for your injuries. Do not let a savvy insurance company and its attorneys take advantage of you. The skilled Indiana insurance attorneys at Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have decades of combined experience representing injured Indianians and know what it takes to be successful in Indiana courts. Call 888-532-7766 to set up a free consultation today.
Court Affirms Dismissal of Case Against Truck Driver Who Caused Chain-Reaction Accident, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, December 1, 2016
School Bus Accident Kills Six Students, Police Say Driver Was Likely Speeding, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, December 6, 2016