All Indiana motorists are required to maintain a certain amount of auto insurance to drive legally. Lawmakers’ idea behind creating such a requirement was to ensure that an at-fault motorist had sufficient assets to cover the costs incurred by the victims of their negligence. Thus, even if an at-fault motorist has no assets themselves, their insurance company will defend the case on their behalf and compensate the accident victim up to the policy limit.
In reality, however, dealing with an insurance company after an Indiana car accident can be a major headache. For one, insurance companies are for-profit companies that rely on taking in more money each month in premiums than they pay out in claims. Thus, it is in an insurance company’s interest to pay as little for each claim as possible. Thus, insurance companies routinely deny coverage in hopes that the accident victim is unfamiliar with the process and doesn’t ask any questions. However, insurance companies who deny coverage can be challenged through an Indiana personal injury lawsuit.
A recent case illustrates one plaintiff’s successful attempt to get an insurance company to cover his injuries.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident when another motorist struck him. The plaintiff’s injuries were serious, and although the at-fault driver had insurance coverage, that coverage did not fully compensate the plaintiff for his injuries. The plaintiff had two insurance policies. The first, through Allstate, had limits of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident. The plaintiff also had a policy with the defendant insurance policy, which contained underinsured motorist (UIM) protection.
The plaintiff obtained the policy maximum from his Allstate policy and filed a claim against the defendant insurance company, claiming that he was still not fully compensate for his injuries. The defendant insurance company denied coverage, citing a provision in the policy requiring the plaintiff to obtain $100,000/$300,000 before the policy kicked in. The insurance company claimed that, because the plaintiff failed to secure the necessary amount of underlying insurance, he did not fulfill a necessary condition of coverage.
The Court’s Decision
The court began its analysis by noting that, in general, courts disfavor insurance companies including conditions precedent in their policies. Here, the court concluded that, when the entire policy was read as a whole, it was unclear whether the plaintiff needed to obtain the underlying insurance to be covered under the UIM policy. Thus, because the policy seemed to both provide and deny benefits under the same set of circumstances, the court determined that the ambiguity should be resolved in the plaintiff’s favor.
Are You Dealing with a Difficult Insurance Company?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Indiana car accident and are currently dealing with a difficult insurance company contact the dedicated Indiana personal injury lawyers at Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse. At Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse, we represent Indiana injury victims in all types of accident claims, including those involving insurance claims that were initially denied by the insurer. To learn more how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you have sustained, call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation today.
Indiana Car Accidents Occurring in Parking Lots and on Other Private Property, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, January 14, 2019
Federal Appellate Court Overseeing Northern and Southern District of Indiana Issues Opinion in Warehouse Injury Case, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, January 22, 2019