Edens v. Netherlands Insurance, a car accident lawsuit case from the U.S. of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, involved a fatal crash. Plaintiff was driving a motorcycle when a car approaching from the opposite direction made a sharp turn directly in his path. The motorcycle hit the oncoming car.
This fatal motorcycle accident occurred in May 2013. The plaintiff was 22-years-old at the time of his tragic death. When he hit the alleged at-fault driver’s car, he suffered severe injuries. First responders were called to the scene, but they found him non-responsive and knew there was nothing they could do save him. They called the medical examiner, and he was soon pronounced dead at the scene.
Following his death, the victim’s parents contacted the insurance company via counsel and made a demand for damages. They also contacted the insurance company of the plaintiffs and made what is known as a demand for underinsured motorist coverage (UM) to the policy limit of $1 million.
While every case is different, and you should speak with your experienced Boston car accident lawyers about the facts of your actual situation, most people who live in Massachusetts and own a car have UIM insurance coverage. Even if they have never heard of this type of insurance, the law requires that whenever a policy is sold, the purchaser be given UIM insurance up to their actual limits of traditional liability coverage, unless they specifically disclaim that coverage, which is not normally the case.
Under this particular policy, the insurance company claimed that only business vehicles were covered, which included any vehicles owned by the plaintiff’s company when the company or its employees were using those vehicles in the course of business. On this basis, the company denied coverage, and the plaintiffs eventually filed a claim in court against the insurance company, demanding that the company pay out on their UIM policy.
The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment arguing that the case be dismissed. The insurance company claimed that this was not a company vehicle, and that the accident did not involve a vehicle owned by an employee while he was engaged in work for the company. The plaintiffs claimed that their son was an executive officer for the company, which made the policy in effect with respect to this tragic motorcycle accident.
The court concluded that decedent was an employee of the company, and, on that ground, he could be covered. However, the court also determined that his parents owned the motorcycle personally and not the company owned by his parents. While this may seem like a minor distinction, it was enough to find that he was not covered under the UIM policy, and the court thus granted the motion in favor of defendants. Plaintiffs filed this appeal, and, on appeal, the court concluded that trial court had not made any reversible error and affirmed the court’s earlier decision.
If you are injured in an accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — (617) 777-7777.
Edens v. Netherlands Insurance, August 22, 2016, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
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