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Injured woman’s insurance policy provisions are in direct conflict

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday agreed with a couple that their auto insurance policy is ambiguous because the two-year contractual limitation provision conflicts with another provision requiring full compliance with the contract.

Darliss Wert was injured in an accident Jan. 16, 2009, that was caused by Barbara Offill’s negligent driving. Darliss and Gary Wert’s attorney informed their insurer, Meridian Security Insurance Co., in March 2010 that the couple had an underinsured-motorist claim because Offill only had $100,000 of liability insurance. The Werts accepted the $100,000 settlement from Offill’s insurance company Jan. 18, 2011, but that money would not be available to the Werts until early February 2011. Meridian offered to settle the Werts underinsured-motorist claim for $5,000 in December 2011. The Werts filed their complaint seeking the benefits Feb. 24, 2012, more than two years after the accident.

The trial court granted summary judgment for the insurer, which argued it was entitled to summary judgment because the claim was filed after the expiration of the contractual limitation period.

The insurance contract in this case states that no legal action will be permitted against the insurance company unless there has been “full compliance with the terms of this policy.” The restriction is amended by only allowing a lawsuit to be brought against the insurance company as long as it is brought within two years of the date of the accident.

The two-year restriction is in direct conflict with the endorsement amending the requirements of the underinsured-motorist coverage, the appellate judges found, because Meridian will not pay underinsured-motorist benefits to its policyholder until the claim has either been resolved or settled with the underinsured motorist.

“Meridian’s policy prohibits the Werts from filing any lawsuit against it for an underinsured-motorist claim until the limits of Offill’s liability coverage have been exhausted. At the same time, Meridian attempts to prevent the Werts from filing more than two years after the date of the accident, potentially requiring them to file a lawsuit before they are in full compliance with the policy,” Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote. “Unless a policyholder settles with an underinsured motorist within two years of the collision, these provisions are in direct conflict and therefore ambiguous.”

The case, Darliss Wert and Gary Wert v. Meridian Security Insurance Company, 15A01-1306-CT-252, is remanded for further proceedings.
 

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  1. Oh, the name calling was not name calling, it was merely social commentary making this point, which is on the minds of many, as an aside to the article's focus: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100111082327AAmlmMa Or, if you prefer a local angle, I give you exhibit A in that analysis of viva la difference: http://fox59.com/2015/03/16/moed-appears-on-house-floor-says-hes-not-resigning/

  2. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  3. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  4. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  5. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

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