If you are involved in a car accident with a motorist who does not have sufficient policy limits to cover your damages, you may be able to make a claim for underinsured motorist benefits with your own insurer. As seasoned Massachusetts car accident lawyers, we have handled numerous legal actions that involve insurance issues, including underinsured motorist coverage disputes. This coverage is typically optional, and many appellate opinions have discussed whether a party has rejected an underinsured motorist policy explicitly. In a recent opinion, for example, a mother and son were injured in a car accident. The mother sought policy benefits for her son’s injuries, but her insurer denied them. The mother and son appealed the trial court’s decision finding that the insurer was not required to pay benefits to the son. The mother and son filed a timely appeal.
On review, the appellate court first examined the scope of the mother’s insurance policy. In its opinion, the court cited a specific provision in the policy that provides benefits to “any household member . . . while occupying an auto not owned by [the insured].” The provision further provided that the household member was required to be a relation through marriage, blood, or adoption.
In response to the plaintiffs’ claim, the insurance company had provided medical documents, a lease showing that the son did not live in the same apartment unit as his mother, and a driver’s license. The insurance company also referenced a discussion that the mother had with one of its representatives before she purchased her insurance policy. According to the insurer, in that discussion, the mother indicated that her son did not live with her but that he lived in a separate unit downstairs from her unit.