Georgia Court Parses Language in Insurance Contract, Offsetting Plaintiff’s Recovery by Amount Already Paid by Insurer

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia car accident case requiring the court to determine if the plaintiff’s recovery amount should be reduced by the amount of money that the insurance company paid the plaintiff before the case was resolved. Ultimately, after closely reading the language in the insurance contract, the court concluded that such an offset was appropriate, reducing the plaintiff’s recovery amount by over $22,000.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff had an insurance policy with the defendant insurance company. The case arose when the plaintiff was injured in a Georgia car accident with an uninsured driver. Evidently, the uninsured driver failed to yield at an intersection, striking the plaintiff’s vehicle. The matter of whom was at fault was not important to the court’s opinion; it was assumed that the other driver was responsible for the accident.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver, and a jury returned a general verdict in the plaintiff’s favor for $157,400. The plaintiff’s insurance company paid the judgment, but requested that the total amount be reduced by the amount of money it paid to the plaintiff during the pendency of the lawsuit.

Evidently, the insurance company presented the court with a detailed log of payments that were made to the plaintiff and on the plaintiff’s behalf for his medical care. The total of payments made was approximately $22,000. The insurance company argued that the plaintiff’s policy contained a “nonduplication” clause, stating that the insurance company would not pay for UIM damages that had already been paid for by the insurance company for the plaintiff’s medical expenses.

The plaintiff argued that because the jury returned a general verdict that did not specify what categories of damages contained in the verdict, there was insufficient evidence to show that any of the verdict was for medical expenses. The court, however, rejected this argument. In so doing, the court looked to the plaintiff’s complaint, in which he claimed to have accrued approximately $107,000 in medical expenses. The court noted that the plaintiff did not present evidence of any other categories of damages, other than medical expenses and pain and suffering. That being the case, the court was persuaded that the jury’s verdict included an award for the medical expenses that were already paid by the insurance company.

Are You Dealing with a Difficult Insurance Company?

If you have recently been injured in a Georgia car accident, and are currently dealing with a difficult insurance company, contact the dedicated Georgia injury lawyers at McAleer Law. At McAleer Law, we have decades of collective experience representing Georgia accident victims in all types of cases, including Georgia car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and cases involving dangerous or defective products. To learn more about how our team of dedicated Georgia personal injury lawyers can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you have sustained, call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation today.

See More Posts:

Georgia Court Rejects Defendant’s Spoliation Claim Against Personal Injury Plaintiff, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, November 14, 2018.

Georgia Car Accidents Involving Inexperienced Drivers, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, January 14, 2019.

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