Earlier this month, an appellate court in Mississippi issued a written opinion that should serve as a warning to anyone injured in a motorcycle accident and planning on filing a claim with either the other driver’s insurance company or even their own insurance company. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss how an insurance policy’s per-person limit can limit or prevent derivative claims from being filed by the loved ones of the injured party.
The Facts of the Case
The case was filed by two plaintiffs, who were married. The husband was involved in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another party. His wife was not with him at the time of the accident. After the accident, three insurance provisions were triggered:
- The at-fault driver’s policy;
- The plaintiffs’ insurance policy that covered the motorcycle; and
- The plaintiffs’ insurance company that covered two other vehicles.
Both of the plaintiffs’ policies had an underinsured motorist provision, whereby the policy would compensate the policyholder in the event that an at-fault driver’s insurance coverage was insufficient to cover the policyholder’s injuries.
The husband received the maximum per-person benefit under the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage as well as from one of his own policies’ underinsured motorist provision. However, the wife then attempted to file a claim under the couple’s other policy, seeking compensation for her loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is essentially a way that courts can compensate someone for the loss of companionship that was caused by an accident.
The insurance companies disputed the wife’s claim, arguing that the per-person insurance policy limit was satisfied when the two insurance companies settled the claim, and her derivative claim fell under that limit. Essentially, the insurance company claimed that the per-person limit applied to each person who was actually injured, rather than to someone who is making a derivative claim based on another person’s injury.
The court agreed with the insurance companies and dismissed the wife’s claim for loss of consortium. The court explained that the clear language of the insurance policy limits coverage to each injured person and does not cover each person who makes a claim against the policy. As a result, the husband will be permitted to keep his insurance coverage payout; however, the wife will not be permitted to seek additional damages for loss of consortium.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. It is important for victims to realize, however, that they will almost certainly have to deal with at least one insurance company during the process. Do not let a savvy insurance company representative convince you to give up any of your rights. Instead, you should consult with a dedicated attorney to ensure that you are well represented throughout the negotiation process. Call 410-654-3600 today to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney today. We will not charge you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Physical and Financial Recovery after a Serious Bicycle Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published March 9, 2017.
Drivers May Have a Difficult Time Seeing Motorcyclists and Bicyclists, But That’s No Excuse for an Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published March 30, 2017.