Auto insurance is supposed to help accident victims recover for their losses after being involved in a serious accident. However, in reality, insurance companies are for-profit companies that are solely motivated by profit. In too many New Mexico car accident cases, insurance companies refuse to offer fair settlements or contest accident victims’ claims altogether. A recent personal injury opinion illustrates how an insurance company may try to limit the amount of money it pays out following a serious car accident.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiffs lost two loved ones in a fatal car accident. At the time, the plaintiffs insured five cars through the insurance company and were provided two policy numbers. The limit on each policy was $250,000. Thus, the plaintiffs were seeking a total of $500,000. However, the insurance company claimed that the plaintiffs only had a single policy and paid out just $250,000. Following the accident and the insurance company’s failure to pay their requested amount, the plaintiffs filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the other driver as well as their own insurance company.
At trial, the insurance company sought dismissal of the case, taking the position that the plaintiffs had only one insurance policy and arguing that it had already paid what was due under the plaintiffs’ single policy. The trial court rejected the insurance company’s argument and denied the insurance company’s motion. The insurance company then appealed to a higher court.
On appeal, the case was reversed in favor of the insurance company. The insurance company presented evidence explaining that the two policy numbers were generated only because there was a four-vehicle maximum per policy. Thus, to accommodate the plaintiffs’ larger family, the insurance company created an additional policy number. However, on that second policy number, the insurance company included a disclaimer acknowledging that there were two policy numbers but clarifying that “all your vehicles are insured under one single policy.” In addition, the court found it persuasive that the plaintiffs were only issued a single bill for all five of their vehicles.
As a result of the court’s decision, the plaintiffs will be limited to the $250,000 that they received from the insurance company under their single policy. Of course, this does not include any amount that the plaintiffs recovered from the at-fault driver or his insurance company.
Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a New Mexico car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, it is very likely that you will have to deal with at least one insurance company, and potentially several insurance companies. The skilled New Mexico personal injury attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have extensive experience bringing claims against insurance companies that hesitate to do what’s fair. We understand the insurance business and how to maximize our clients’ recovery. Call 505-889-FINE to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Refuses to Consider Plaintiff’s Alleged Error on Appeal Because It Was Unpled Below, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, September 8, 2017.
Government Agency Faults Manufacturer for 2016 Auto-Pilot Crash, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, September 18, 2017.