Court Discusses Insurance Company’s Obligations in Horse-Drawn Carriage Accident

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case requiring the court to determine if an accident victim’s claims against an insurance company fit within the underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) provision of the victim’s policy. After conducting a thorough analysis of the specific language used in the policy, the court concluded that the accident was not within the scope of the UIM clause and dismissed the plaintiff’s case against the insurance company.

The case is important for Maryland car accident victims because it raises an issue that often comes up in car accident cases, specifically whether an accident is covered under a motorist’s insurance policy.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was riding in the rear of a horse-drawn carriage during a Christmas parade. The carriage was such that it could only be towed by an animal – either horse or mule – and could not be towed by a vehicle. After the parade, a car rear-ended the carriage, causing the plaintiff to sustain serious injuries. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the carriage. However, since that claim was initially denied, the plaintiff also filed a claim against their own insurance company under the UIM provision.

The plaintiff’s UIM policy provided coverage for qualifying accidents involving an “underinsured motor vehicle.” The policy defined an underinsured motor vehicle as a “land motor vehicle or trailer of any type.” The policy also defined the term “trailer” as a “vehicle designed to be pulled by … a private passenger auto or pickup or van.”

The insurance company argued that, since the vehicle in which the plaintiff was riding when the accident occurred was a horse-drawn carriage, the UIM coverage was not triggered. Specifically, the insurance company claimed that the carriage did not fit within the definition of “underinsured motor vehicle” because it could not be towed by a car, truck, or van, and could only be pulled by an animal.

The plaintiff argued that the words “of any type” that followed the word “trailer” in the policy’s definition of underinsured motor vehicle should be read expansively to include a carriage. However, the insurance company responded – and the court agreed – that the policy also provides a clear definition of the term “trailer,” which excludes a horse-drawn carriage on the basis that it cannot be towed by a motor vehicle.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. However, it is almost certain that before you are able to obtain compensation for your injuries, you will need to deal with at least one insurance company. The dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling car accident claims and know how to deal with difficult insurance companies. We work hard to get our clients the compensation they deserve, and we are not afraid to take a case to trial in the event an insurance company is unwilling to offer a fair settlement. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule your free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Dismisses Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Case Based on Conflicting Testimony, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 16, 2018.

Plaintiff’s Failure to Prove Defendant Knew of Puddle’s Existence Results in Dismissal of Premises Liability Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, May 1, 2018.

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