Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a Georgia car accident case involving a dispute between a motorist who was injured in an accident and that motorist’s insurance company. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s failure to provide the insurance company with prompt notice of the accident and subsequent lawsuit was a violation of the clear language contained in the insurance policy. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s four-and-a-half-year delay in notifying the company did violate the policy language and that, as a result, the plaintiff’s lawsuit against the insurance company was dismissed.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was injured in a car accident while she was a passenger in a friend’s car. Several others were also injured. Two years after the accident, the plaintiff filed a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. The plaintiff eventually settled that claim for $36,000, which was all that was available under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy after compensating the other accident victims.
The plaintiff claimed that she sustained injuries above and beyond those covered by the $36,000 settlement with the at-fault driver, and she joined her own insurance company as a defendant in the lawsuit. By this time, about four and a half years had passed since the accident. The plaintiff claimed that since the at-fault driver was underinsured, her own insurance company should cover her injuries under the underinsured motorist provision of her policy.
The insurance company argued that the plaintiff failed to comply with the language in her insurance policy, requiring that she provide the insurance company with prompt notice of any accident as well as any court case. The insurance company claimed that the plaintiff waited four and a half years to provide the company notice, which was too long. The plaintiff explained the delay, reasoning that she did not know that she would be filing a claim with the company until she got word that the at-fault driver was underinsured.
The court was not sympathetic to the plaintiff’s arguments and granted the insurance company’s motion for summary judgment. The court explained that insurance contracts are to be interpreted like any other contract, and here, the plaintiff did not follow the terms to which she had agreed by signing and maintaining the policy. As a result, the plaintiff will be limited to the $36,000 she recovered from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Georgia car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Dealing with insurance companies in the wake of a Georgia car accident can be extremely frustrating. Not only that, but also an unprepared accident victim may inadvertently waive important rights. To make sure that you are treated fairly throughout the process, contact an attorney at McAleer Law to assist you with the preparation and presentation of your claim. We represent clients in all types of Georgia personal injury cases, including car accidents. Call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Georgia accident attorney today.
See More Posts:
Georgia Court Determines Steep Stairway Without Handrail May Constitute Hazard in Recent Premises Liability Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, December 4, 2017.
Court Excludes Key Witness at Trial Due to Plaintiff’s Failure to Identify Witness Before Trial, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, September 27, 2017.