Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia car accident case involving a plaintiff’s claims against two insurance companies. Ultimately, the court determined that the plaintiff did not properly notify either of the insurance companies about the accident until after the deadline set forth in the policies had expired. Thus, the court held that the plaintiff’s claims against the insurance companies were barred.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was working as a truck driver when he was rear ended by another driver while waiting at a red light. The force from the collision pushed the plaintiff’s truck into the rear of another vehicle, causing the plaintiff to sustain a serious injury to his neck. The accident occurred in December 2013.
In March 2015, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who rear-ended him. However, at some point thereafter, the plaintiff realized that the at-fault driver may be uninsured or may not have enough insurance to cover his injuries, so the plaintiff named his own insurance carrier as a defendant in April 2015. At this time, the plaintiff also named his employer’s insurance carrier as a defendant.
Both insurance companies argued that they were not properly notified of the accident or the claim and that this deficient notice should preclude the plaintiff from pursuing his claim. The trial court granted the insurance companies’ motions to dismiss, and the plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the court affirmed the dismissal of both insurance companies. First, the court considered the plaintiff’s claim against his own insurance company. Under OCGA § 33-7-11 (d), a motorist must name their own insurance company as a defendant as soon as they believe that the at-fault driver may be uninsured or underinsured. Additionally, service must be in the same manner as required for a defendant. In Georgia, this includes serving the insurance company with both notice of the complaint as well as a summons. Here, the court noted, when the plaintiff did serve his own insurance company, there was no summons included. Thus, the court determined that the plaintiff failed to comply with the statute and affirmed the dismissal of the claim.
Moving on to the plaintiff’s claim against his employer’s insurance company, the court began by reviewing the text of the insurance policy, which stated that the insurance company must be notified within 90 days of the accident. Here, the court noted that the plaintiff did not notify the insurance company until six months after the accident. The court concluded that the plaintiff did not present a sufficient reason for the delay and affirmed the dismissal of the claim.
Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Georgia car accident, it is imperative that you take action quickly because waiting may waive important rights. The dedicated Georgia personal injury lawyers at McAleer Law have extensive experience handling Georgia car accident claims, including those involving difficult and reluctant insurance companies. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case, call 404-622-5337 today.
See More Posts:
Georgia Court Permits Plaintiffs to Add Defendant and Amend Expert Affidavit Beyond Statute of Limitations, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, September 25, 2017.
Georgia Court Discusses Government Immunity in Recent Car Accident Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, January 10, 2018.