23 Dec NC Supreme Court Rules For Injured Policyholder In UIM Case
The North Carolina Supreme Court recently held that, in a situation where there is more than one at-fault driver responsible for an accident, the injured party does not have to exhaust the liability policies of all at-fault drivers in order to make a claim under his or her own underinsured motorist (UIM) policy (Lunsford v. Mills). Instead, the injured party is only required to exhaust the liability insurance coverage of a single at-fault driver in order to trigger the obligation of the injured party’s own carrier to provide UIM benefits.
The Court relied on the plain language of the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act, noting that “when an insured suffers bodily injury caused by the ownership, maintenance, or use of an underinsured highway vehicle, and when the liability bonds or insurance policies providing coverage for that vehicle have been exhausted, UIM coverage is triggered.” The Court also cited the remedial purpose of the Act, which is to be liberally construed to protect “innocent victims who may be injured by financially irresponsible motorists” and “to provide the innocent victim with the fullest possible protection.”
At Parry & Tyndall, we regularly represent policyholders seeking to recover insurance proceeds that are due to them, including UM/UIM and other claims under auto liability policies. If you believe that you or your business has been wrongly denied coverage or has otherwise suffered damages from an insurance company’s failure to live up to its obligations, please give us a call at 919.967.0504 for a free initial consultation.