North Carolina Appellate Court Reverses Denial of Coverage to Injured Minor in Severe Car Accident Case

If you were injured in a car accident, you may have already had discussions with your insurance company or the other party’s insurer to learn about whether you are entitled to benefits. Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not play by the rules and take advantage of insureds or people making claims during their time of need. The Raleigh car accident lawyers at Maurer Law are prepared to help you defend your rights against an insurance company so that you can receive the financial compensation that you need and deserve.

Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeal considered a claim in which the plaintiff, an insurance carrier, filed an action for declaratory judgment seeking an interpretation of insurance policies. In the claim, a minor was injured when a truck that her cousin was driving ran off the road and into a ditch. The minor was ejected from the vehicle. Her guardians filed a complaint seeking damages for the accident totaling over $81,000. The complaint also included a claim for underinsured motorist coverage against the minor’s grandfather. In the meantime, the cousin’s insurance carrier tendered $30,000 in benefits.

The plaintiff insurance carrier argued in the declaratory judgment action that the minor was not covered under the insurance policy. The plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court eventually granted. It concluded that because the minor was not a member of the grandfather’s household, insurance coverage was not available under the policy. The minor’s guardians appealed the decision.

The appellate court reviewed a few key facts. At the time the accident took place, the grandfather owned several houses and hundreds of acres of farmland. The grandfather and the minor’s father owned a house together until it burned down in 2005. The minor was living with her father in that house for a period of time after she was born. The grandfather purchased two houses a mile away from one another and the minor and her father lived in one of them. At various times, the grandfather would sleep at this house.

The grandfather testified that his land was considered a family farm where several members of his family lived and worked. He also paid all of the bills associated with the house where the minor lived with her father since she was a young child. There was also a period of time when the grandfather was appointed as the minor’s guardian and he testified to having provided her with financial and familial support throughout her life. Based on these facts and other findings in the record, the appellate court concluded that the minor was a family member and therefore insured under the grandfather’s policy at the time of the accident.

If you were hurt in a car crash, you may be entitled to compensation from the person who caused the accident to happen. At Maurer Law, we provide compassionate and seasoned guidance to injury victims and their families so that they can receive the compensation that they deserve. We provide a free consultation to discuss your Raleigh car accident case. Call our office today at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online to get started.

Contact Information