North Carolina Appellate Court Reverses Judgment for Insurance Company in Auto Policy Coverage Dispute

One of the most confusing aspects of a Raleigh car accident is understanding your insurance policy and whether you are entitled to benefits. Policies can be written in incredibly confusing ways, and sometimes insurers try to interpret the terms of the policy in the way that benefits them the most. You pay your insurance premiums every month so that you will have the benefits you need and deserve if you are hurt in an accident. If you are dealing with an insurance dispute after a car accident or want to learn more about seeking compensation from the person who hurt you, Maurer Law can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Recently, The North Carolina Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case involving an insurance dispute. The plaintiff alleged that her truck was hit by a hit-and-run driver and that her vehicle was a total loss. She surrendered the damaged vehicle to her insurer and filed a claim for coverage. The defendant denied the claim alleging that the plaintiff hit a stationary object and was not involved in an accident with another vehicle.

The plaintiff filed a claim against her insurance company, alleging that it breached the terms of their insurance contract. She alleged that she was entitled to receive uninsured motorist benefits according to her policy to cover the damage to her vehicle and her injuries. She also alleged that if she was not entitled to uninsured motorist coverage, she was eligible to receive collision coverage to replace the vehicle as well as coverage for other expenses related to the crash. She included a claim for unfair trade practices, as well, and a claim alleged that the insurer breached the contract’s covenant of good faith, entitling her to punitive damages. Punitive damages are a category of damages designed to punish a defendant who engages in willful and reckless conduct.

The plaintiff then filed a motion for partial summary judgment. The defendant responded by noting again that the evidence showed that the plaintiff likely hit a stationary object. The defendant alleged that the plaintiff engaged in fraud and misrepresentation based on this assertion. The trial court ruled in favor of the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s claim.

The plaintiff appealed. The appellate court first reviewed the evidence in the record and determined that the lower court failed to adequately evaluate all the evidence. Specifically, the plaintiff had submitted records from the insurer’s investigation of the accident that, according to the appellate court, showed that the insurer may have been actively searching for an alternative set of facts that prevented it from paying benefits to the plaintiff. Because there was a factual issue about how the insurer handled the claim, summary judgment was inappropriate. Ultimately, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment on some of her claims.

If you were hurt in a car accident, you may be entitled to insurance benefit payments and compensation in a civil case for damages. To learn more about your rights and whether a personal injury lawyer can help you, contact Maurer Law today. Our team has experience dealing with insurance companies and will make sure that they play by the rules. Call now at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online to get started.

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