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DELAWARE INJURY LAWYERS

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Delaware Supreme Court Rules Against Insurance Companies On Coverage Dispute

Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage is designed to protect an injured person when a negligent driver’s insurance coverage is not enough to fully compensate the injured person.

In USAA v. Brown, Mr. Brown was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident where the driver of the vehicle in which Mr. Brown was riding was at-fault for causing the accident. The driver’s insurance company, USAA, paid Mr. Brown the policy limits of bodily injury liability coverage, but that payment did not fully compensate Mr. Brown for the injuries that he suffered. Mr. Brown then sought UIM benefits from the driver’s USAA policy. USAA moved to dismiss the case, arguing that several provisions within the insurance policy precluded payment of UIM benefits.

The Superior Court ruled against USAA and found that Mr. Brown was entitled to UIM coverage from the USAA policy because USAA’s policy provisions were contrary to Delaware law and thus, unenforceable. USAA then appealed the Superior Court decision to the Supreme Court.

In Nationwide Property & Casualty Ins. Co. v. Irizarry, Mr. Irizarry was also injured in a motor vehicle accident where the driver of the vehicle in which Mr. Irizarry was riding was at-fault for causing the accident. The driver’s insurance company, Nationwide, paid Mr. Irizarry the policy limits of bodily injury liability coverage, but again, like Mr. Brown, that payment did not fully compensate Mr. Irizarry for the injuries he suffered. Mr. Irizarry then sought UIM benefits from the driver’s policy. Like USAA, Nationwide moved to dismiss the case, arguing that Mr. Irizarry could not receive payment under the bodily injury and UIM portion of the policy.

The Superior Court ruled against Nationwide and found that Mr. Irizarry was entitled to UIM coverage because just like USAA, Nationwide’s policy provisions were contrary to Delaware law and thus, unenforceable. Nationwide appealed the Superior Court decision to the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Delaware issued two orders upholding the decisions from the Superior Court in favor of the innocent, injured individuals and against the insurance companies, which were trying to escape their responsibility for providing UIM coverage. The decisions now issued by the Superior Court and affirmed by the Supreme Court will continue to allow us to help our clients obtain the appropriate compensation to which they are entitled.

If you would like to discuss an automobile accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident claim, contact the Delaware personal injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. We help our clients, who are often disabled and incur large medical expenses, obtain appropriate compensation. For a free consultation, contact us online or call 302-427-9500 today. Located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.