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Injured man who sued estate can only recover insurance policy limits

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A man who was injured in an auto accident with a woman who died the following year cannot recover any funds from her estate, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. But the trial court didn’t err in denying the estate’s motion to amend the jury award, because it is a valid judgment despite that the man can only recover funds available under the policy limits of the woman’s insurance policy.

Paige Winn and Michael Davis were in a car accident on Oct. 12, 2007. Winn died June 8, 2008, from causes unrelated to the accident. Davis asked for an estate to be opened and then filed a complaint on Sept. 25, 2009, claiming Winn negligently operated her car. He sought to recover for personal injuries and lost wages.

A jury awarded Davis $60,000, which the trial court entered into judgment. The estate sought to correct the judgment to say that Davis could not collect from the estate because he didn’t timely file his claim and that the recovery was limited under the amount available through Winn’s insurance liability policy. The trial court denied the estate’s motion.

The Court of Appeals found Davis’ claim against the estate was not timely filed within nine months of Winn’s death, as outlined in I.C. 29-1-14-1, so he cannot recover any money from the estate.

“However, pursuant to the clear language of Indiana Code section 29-1-14-1(f) and the Indiana Supreme Court’s holding in (Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. v. Richie, 707 N.E.2d 992 (Ind. 1999)), Davis may recover the funds available under the limits of Winn’s insurance liability policy from Winn’s insurance carrier,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote in John M. Mayer, Jr., as Special Administrator of the Estate of Paige R. Winn, Deceased v. Michael. W. Davis, 22A01-1212-CT-570.  

The appeals court declined to conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion to amend the judgment because the judgment is valid despite the fact that any portion of the judgment in excess of Winn’s insurance liability policy limits can’t be recovered from the estate.

“The Estate has pointed to no authority suggesting that a judgment is void merely because it is unenforceable, and we find none,” he wrote.

 

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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