Accident Victim’s Failure to Provide Immediate Notice of Case May Preclude Recovery

In most Florida car accident cases, one or more of the parties involved will file a claim with an insurance company, seeking compensation for the injuries they sustained in the accident. In many cases, after an accident, it is an at-fault driver’s insurance company – rather than the driver themselves – that ends up compensating the accident victim for their injuries.An insurance policy is essentially just a contract between the insurance company and the insured, whereby the insurance company agrees to cover certain costs that are incurred in the event of an accident. As with all contracts, both parties have certain obligations and rights. For example, the insured’s main obligation is to pay the monthly premium, and in exchange, the insurance company agrees to provide the insurance contained in the policy.

There are often, however, terms that give rise to additional obligations on the insured’s part. For example, most insurance policies require that notice be given to the company in the event of an accident that may result in a claim being filed against the policy. In a recent case, a court had to determine whether a plaintiff’s failure to provide immediate notice violated a term of the contract and, if so, whether her claim should be dismissed as a result.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in an accident with another driver. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained serious injuries. The plaintiff, believing the other driver to be at fault, filed a personal injury claim against him.

The plaintiff sought treatment in the weeks after the accident and months later was still experiencing symptoms. About a year after the accident, she notified her own insurance company of the case against the other driver, and she filed a claim under the uninsured motorist protection clause of her own policy.

The plaintiff’s insurance company denied her claim, claiming the plaintiff’s delay in reporting the accident was a failure to fulfill a precondition to coverage. The court agreed and dismissed her case. The plaintiff then appealed.

On appeal, the court agreed that providing notice to the insurance company was a precondition to coverage and also that the plaintiff failed to provide immediate notice as a matter of law. However, the court noted that based on the plaintiff’s late realization of the seriousness of her injuries, her failure to report the case to her insurance company may have been excused. Thus, the court ordered the case to proceed to a jury trial for the resolution of that issue.

Have You Been Involved in a Florida Car Accident?

Dealing with insurance companies only adds to the difficulty of the recovery process. If you have been involved in a car accident and are tired of getting the run-a-round from your insurance company, contact the dedicated South Florida car accident lawyers at Friedman, Rodman & Frank and let us help you pursue the compensation you deserve. We deal with difficult insurance companies regularly, and we know what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalf. To learn more, and to schedule your free consultation, call 877-448-8585 today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Rejects Underinsured Motorist Claim Following Horse-Drawn Carriage Accident, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 19, 2017.

Used-Car Dealer May Be on the Hook for Injuries Related to Missing Muffler, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 5, 2018.

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