If two vehicles get into a Massachusetts car accident, and one driver is at fault, generally speaking, the faultless driver would file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s car insurance carrier. This scenario is quite common; however, it is estimated that one in eight drivers are uninsured, which helps illustrate the importance of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. The Massachusetts Appeals Court decided a case involving the complexities of underinsured motorist coverage and the right of the underinsured insurance carrier to seek arbitration for any amounts owed to the insured.
The plaintiff was hurt in a car crash. Her insurance carrier was Arbella Mutual, and the other car involved in the accident was insured by Liberty Mutual. The plaintiff notified her insurance carrier of the accident. Arbella notified her that her underinsurance coverage limits were for a half-million dollars per accident.
The plaintiff filed suit against the other driver. The procedural posture of the case became complex, but in the second trial, the jury reached a verdict and allocated sole responsibility for the accident to the defendant. The plaintiff’s awarded damages exceeded the amount available under the defendant’s insurance coverage limits. The plaintiff decided to settle the case with the defendant for a lesser amount and seek the outstanding amount from her insurance carrier under the underinsurance coverage provisions.