Connecticut Underinsured Motorist Claims: Challenges and Advice

Posted by Richard P. Hastings | Jun 16, 2011 | 0 Comments

How Not Complying with Your Policy's Provision Could Result in the Dismissal of Your Case

By, Richard P. Hastings, Connecticut Attorney

The Connecticut Appellate Court will officially release the case of Dolly Romprey, et al v. Safeco Insurance Company of America next week. This case highlights the pitfalls of the complexity of the law of underinsured motorist cases in Connecticut.

In Romprey, the Plaintiff was involved in an accident on November 16, 2004, which was caused by the fault of a third party. The Plaintiff settled with the third party's insurance company for, ostensibly, the policy limit of $25,000. Ms. Romprey was insured at the time of the accident by the Defendant, Safeco Insurance, for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

In two letters sent to Safeco in December of 2005 and February of 2006, Ms. Romprey's lawyer's office provided all medical reports and medical bills they had to date. They advised the Defendant that they had exhausted all of the third party's insurance coverage, demanded arbitration and requested a copy of their client's insurance policy.

The Plaintiff commenced suit in February of 2008 more than three years after the accident. The Defendant moved for summary judgment, in effect a motion for a judgment in favor of the insurance company, against their insured.

In the present case, the relevant language of the insurance policy states: "All claims or suits under [the uninsured and underinsured motorist provisions] of this policy must be brought within three years of the date of the accident. However, in the case of a claim involving an underinsured more vehicle, the insured may toll any applicable limitation period by: "1. Notifying us prior to expiration of the three year period, in writing, of any claim the insured may have for Underinsured Motorist Coverage; and 2. Commencing suit or arbitration proceedings not more than 180 days from the date of exhaustion of the limits of liability under all automobile bodily injury bonds or policies applicable at the time of the accident by settlements or final judgments after any appeals."

The trial court granted the Defendant's motion due to its finding that the Plaintiff had failed to submit evidence to establish the two proofs of the tolling provision. This appeal  ensued and the Appellate Court held that:

  1. The Plaintiff did not demonstrate that the claim involved an underinsured motorist claim because they did not offer sufficient proof that the third party's insurance policy had been exhausted, a prerequisite to an underinsured motorist claim; and
  2. The Plaintiff did not notify the Defendant, prior to three years from the date of the accident, of their claim for an underinsured motorist claim.

Despite the fact that the Plaintiff argued various theories of law involving providing notice within the three year policy period, the tolling of the three year period by making a demand for arbitration and a claim involving breach of the insurance contract, the Appellate Court sided with the Insurance Company.

This case underscores the prerequisite to strictly adhering to insurance policy provisions and emphasizes the need to be ever vigilant in how your insurance  claim is developed, which if it is not followed to the letter of the law, could result in the dismissal of your case.

Richard P. Hastings is a Connecticut personal injury lawyer at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state.  He is the author of the books: "The Crash Course on Child Injury Claims"; "The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut"; and "The Crash Course on Motorcycle Accidents." 

About the Author

Richard P. Hastings

Attorney Hastings concentrates his practice on personal injury and litigation. Devoted to helping those who have suffered some type of wrong, Richard P. Hastings concentrates his law practice on personal injury law.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Sample

Aenean lacinia bibendum nulla sed consectetur. Donec sed odio dui. Maecenas sed diam eget risus varius blandit sit amet non magna. Nulla vitae elit libero, a pharetra augue. Curabitur blandit tempus porttitor. Morbi leo risus, porta ac consectetur ac, vestibulum at eros. Cras justo odio, dapibus ac facilisis in, egestas.

Let Us Fight for You

Local Presence. Statewide Coverage.

When you choose Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP you will receive the one-on-one attention and individualized support that you deserve. Our Connecticut personal injury attorneys will not treat you as just another case number nor will we hand your case off to a paralegal.

Unlike other law firms, we will personally handle each legal aspect of your case, walking with you every step of the way. We aim to provide the highest quality representation possible. We have extensive experience and training in a variety of aspects of personal injury law. We obtain the knowledge and skill-set necessary to maximize your compensation.

440 Main Street
Suite 2

Ridgefield, CT 06877
203-438-7450
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri: 08:30am - 05:00pm

Menu