The Importance of Understanding Available Insurance Coverage Following a Maryland Motorcycle Accident

While every accident is different, generally speaking Maryland motorcycle accidents often result in very serious injuries. In most cases, a motorist who causes a motorcycle accident will not have the financial means necessary to pay for the damages sustained in the crash. This is why it is so auto insurance is so important.

Maryland law requires that all motorists maintain a certain amount of insurance on their vehicle to compensate anyone who may be injured as a result of the driver’s negligence. In Maryland, there are three types of mandatory car insurance:

  • Liability: this coverage compensates those who have been injured as a result of the insured’s negligence
  • Property Damage: this coverage compensates accident victims for the damage to their property caused by the insured’s negligence; and
  • Un/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Protection: this coverage kicks in when another motorist’s liability insurance coverage is insufficient to fully compensate the insured for the injuries they sustained in an accident.

Maryland motorists must obtain $30,000/person ($60,000/accident) in liability insurance, $15,000 in property damages insurance, and $30,000/person ($60,000/accident) in UIM coverage.

Notwithstanding the state’s insurance requirements, it is not uncommon for an accident victim’s injuries to exceed the amount of available insurance coverage. Thus, the determination of what insurance is available is a critical step in any Maryland motorcycle accident lawsuit, especially in cases where a motorist’s employer or another corporate defendant may share responsibility for an accident.

In a recent opinion issued by a state appellate court, the court discussed whether a car dealership’s umbrella insurance policy covered the accident that resulted in the plaintiff’s death.

The Facts

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was killed in a motorcycle accident when a driver struck him while pulling out of a fast-food parking lot. Evidently, the vehicle was owned by a car dealership. The plaintiff’s estate filed a wrongful death case against the car dealership.

The car dealership had an insurance policy with the defendant insurance company. That policy was broken down into several parts, including a “Garage Operations and Auto Hazard” provision with a limit of $300,000. The policy also included “Commercial Umbrella” coverage up to $5,000,000. The insurance company offered to settle the case for $300,000, the policy maximum under the Garage Operations and Auto Hazard provision.

The insurance company sought a declaratory judgment clarifying that the Commercial Umbrella did not apply to the accident, and would not be available to the plaintiff. The plaintiff opposed arguing that the policy was unclear whether the coverage extended to the accident, and that the under the doctrine of “reasonable expectations,” coverage should be applied.

The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument, holding that the Commercial Umbrella coverage did not apply to the accident. The court explained that the language of the Commercial Umbrella coverage indicates it only applied to the owner of the dealership, and not to the employee who caused the accident.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?

If you or someone you love has recently been injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you have sustained. At the Maryland law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC we have a storied history of providing exceptional representation to accident victims across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you have sustained, call 410-654-3600 today.

More Blog Posts:

Considerations in Maryland Hit-and-Run Accidents, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published March 6, 2019.

Recovering for the Wrongful Death of a Loved One Killed in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published February 21, 2019.

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