North Carolina Appellate Court Upholds Decision Finding Car Accident Victim Entitled to Employer’s $1 Million Uninsured Motorist Policy Provision

Insurance policies play a big role in most car accident cases. Knowing your rights under an insurance policy and ensuring that an insurance company treats you fairly can be incredibly difficult, especially if you are dealing with severe and painful injuries as well as major disruptions in your everyday life. At Maurer Law, we proudly provide North Carolina car accident victims with compassionate and dedicated legal counsel in a wide variety of motor vehicle accident claims.

In a recent appeal, the North Carolina appellate court considered whether a plaintiff was properly an insured person for the purpose of an at-fault driver’s insurance policy following a collision. The plaintiff was an employee of a construction company when he was hit by a car while helping his co-worker back a truck and trailer onto the highway.

The plaintiff received workers’ compensation benefits for his injuries through the defendant insurer, which provided a workers’ compensation policy to the construction employer. The insurer also provided a business auto coverage policy to the construction employer with a million dollar limit for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This policy provided a hierarchy indicating when an accident victim is entitled to uninsured/underinsured benefits where multiple policies are involved. The plaintiff had a personal auto policy that provided $250,000 in underinsured motorist coverage.

The plaintiff filed suit and the insurer filed a motion for summary judgment stating that its insurance policy did not provide underinsured motorist coverage to the plaintiff and that he is not entitled to the policy limits under the law. The plaintiff filed a counter-motion for summary judgment seeking an order declaring that he is entitled to the policy benefits. The lower court ruled in the plaintiff’s favor finding that he was entitled to the million dollar policy and his own auto policy. The insurer appealed.

On review, the appellate court upheld the order, finding that the plaintiff was entitled to the million dollar provision in the defendant’s policy regardless of the fact that he had his own policy that also provided uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits. The appellate court rejected the insurer’s argument that the plaintiff was not considered an insured at the time of the crash because he was not occupying the vehicle but instead helping the driver back up. Relying on case precedent dealing with the same issue of an injured person who was not occupying the vehicle at the time of the crash, the appellate court noted that the plaintiff was directly engaged in conduct that was designed to assist the driver of the truck. As a result, there was a clear causal relationship between the accident and the vehicle.

If you suffered injuries as the result of someone else’s carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation. At Maurer Law, we have assisted numerous residents with understanding their legal rights and determining the best course of action to receive the compensation that they deserve following a car accident. We offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and your potential options. To schedule your appointment call us at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online.

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