North Carolina Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Insurer’s Subrogation Claim in Multi-Vehicle Injury Accident

One of the most complicated aspects of any personal injury accident is dealing with insurance companies and determining the scope of any coverage involved. At Maurer Law, we have substantial experience as North Carolina car accident lawyers, ensuring that insurance companies treat our clients fairly and provide them with the benefits promised in the policy.

In a recent North Carolina appellate opinion, the court considered the application of an insurance policy in a car accident. The parties were two women injured in a car accident who required medical treatment for their injuries. The first woman was a passenger in the vehicle owned by the other woman. At the time of the accident, the at-fault motorist crossed the center line and collided with the driver’s vehicle. Immediately after the crash, a third vehicle struck the injured parties’ vehicle.

The injured driver asserted that she incurred $58,000 in medical expenses, while the passenger stated that she incurred $104,000. The first defendant had an insurance policy through GMAC with limits of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. The second defendant who was the driver of the third car to strike the injured women’s vehicle had a policy through All state that provided limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. He also had a policy through Mercury with a limit of $250,000 per person. The first defendant’s insurer, GMAC, tendered the policy limits, which were split up among other parties involved in the accident, including the injured women.

The injured driver had an insurance policy through Farm Bureau providing for a single limit of $100,000 for uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Based on this, the injured women alleged that the first defendant constituted an underinsured motorist for purposes of her policy and sought payment of UIM benefits. Farm Bureau offered a settlement of the dispute that included many complex provisions and requests for waivers. The settlement included a paragraph that preserved Farm Bureau’s subrogation rights against any other individual from whom the injured women might recover compensation. The injured women struck out this paragraph and signed the agreement.

The injured women later asserted a claim against the second defendant for damages that the injured women suffered as a result of his conduct. Farm Bureau asserted subrogation rights against any recovery that the injured women were to receive from the second defendant. The women disputed this, and Farm Bureau filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment establishing its subrogation rights. The injured women contested the complaint and filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted. On appeal, the court upheld the dismissal, finding that Farm Bureau failed to assert its subrogation rights within the statutory window provided by North Carolina law.

If you were injured in a car accident and have questions about your rights under an insurance policy, the seasoned personal injury trial lawyers at Maurer Law are standing by and ready to assist you. We will ensure that you receive the compassionate and responsive legal counsel that you deserve while ensuring that we explore all possible avenues of recovery in your claim. To set up your free consultation, call us at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online.

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