Georgia Court Discusses Plaintiff’s Potential Failure to Comply with Terms of Insurance Contract

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Georgia car accident case involving a dispute between the plaintiff and an insurance company. The question the court was tasked with answering was whether the plaintiff adequately complied with the requirements of the insurance policy, such that the insurance company was obliged to cover her accident claim.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a car accident in August 2015. A week or two after the accident, the plaintiff sought medical care for her injuries. However, the plaintiff continued to suffer significantly, which prevented her from working. The plaintiff soon afterward filed a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver; however, notice of the lawsuit was not provided to the insurance company until April 2016.

At the time of the accident, the vehicle the plaintiff was driving was owned and insured by her ex-husband. That insurance policy contained language that, in order to obtain coverage, a claimant needed to notify the insurance company immediately of any accident. The insurance company sought dismissal of the case against it on the basis that the plaintiff failed to provide immediate notice after the accident.

The trial court found in favor of the defendant insurance company, holding that providing immediate notice was a necessary condition of establishing coverage and that the plaintiff failed to provide immediate notice after the accident. Thus, the plaintiff’s case was dismissed. The plaintiff appealed.

The Appellate Decision

On appeal, the court reversed the decision of the lower court, finding in favor of the plaintiff. The court agreed with the lower court that immediate notice was required under the policy and that the plaintiff failed to provide immediate notice. However, the court explained that, given the facts of the case, the plaintiff may have been excused for failing to provide such notice.

The court explained that, while ignorance of the requirements contained in an insurance policy is not an excuse for providing late notice, a lack of knowledge concerning the seriousness of the injuries sustained in the accident may excuse untimely notice. Here, the court held that the plaintiff’s contention that she was unaware of the seriousness of her injuries until months after the accident gave rise to a material fact that required resolution by a jury, rather than a judge. Thus, the court reversed the lower court’s decision granting summary judgment to the defendant insurance company.

Have You Been Involved in a Georgia Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident, and you are currently dealing with a difficult insurance company, you should contact the dedicated Georgia car accident attorneys at McAleer Law. At McAleer Law, we have decades of collective experience representing victims in all types of Georgia injury cases. To learn more, call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you obtain compensation for your injuries.

See More Posts:

Determining Insurance Coverage Following a Georgia Car Accident, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, May 30, 2018.

Court Discusses When a Georgia Personal Injury Plaintiff’s Duty to Preserve Evidence Is Triggered, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, April 24, 2018.