A state appellate court recently issued an opinion in a car accident case involving a plaintiff’s claim that was denied by the defendant insurance company. The case required the court to consider whether a lower court was proper to grant the insurance company’s motion for summary judgment based on the fact that the plaintiff waited eight months to notify the company of the accident.
The case is important for Indiana car accident victims because it illustrates the importance of taking swift and appropriate action to preserve an accident victim’s right to recover in the wake of a serious Indiana car accident.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was struck by another driver in August, 2015 while driving her ex-husband’s car. The plaintiff’s ex-husband had a policy with the defendant insurance company that included underinsured motorist (UIM) protection.
Within a few weeks, the plaintiff went to the doctor to obtain treatment pain in her lower back and legs. The plaintiff was treated over the course of a couple of months, but the pain did not subside and she was eventually forced to stop working. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
It was not until about eight months later, in April 2016, that the plaintiff notified the defendant insurance company. The insurance company rejected the plaintiff’s UIM claim, citing language in the policy requiring that the insurance company be notified immediately after an accident. The plaintiff responded that she was unaware of the language requiring immediate notice because she was not named on the policy. She also claimed that she was unaware of the full extent of her injuries until early in 2016, when the medical treatment was found to have not been effective at treating her pain.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit to compel the insurance company to approve her claim, but the trial court agreed with the insurance company that the plaintiff failed to comply with the terms of the policy and dismissed the case. The plaintiff appealed.
The Court’s Decision
The court explained that the plaintiff’s lack of knowledge of the policy language was not an acceptable reason for failure to comply with the requirements. However, the court determined that the plaintiff did raise an issue of fact as to whether she was excused from complying with the requirement to provide immediate notice based on the fact that she was unaware of the severity of her injuries. Thus, the court reversed the lower court and ordered that the case proceed toward trial.
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. The Indiana personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have extensive experience handling all types of Indiana car accident claims, including those involving difficult insurance companies. To learn more, call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a member of our legal team. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our time unless we are able to help you recover for your injuries.
Court Discusses the Summary Judgment Standard in Recent Premises Liability Lawsuit, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, June 5, 2018
Trial Judge Improperly Weighs Evidence During Summary Judgment Motion in Recent Premises Liability Lawsuit, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, June 18, 2018