The Path to Damages after a Massachusetts Car Accident Can be a Complex, Winding One

When you or your family member is in a Massachusetts car accident, the primary focus is and should be on emotional and physical recovery. Soon afterward, the concern over expenses and the ability to pay them moves into view. Even when insurance policies are in place and cover expenses, policy limits can fall short of covering the total cost of medical care and lost wages. Alternate routes to make up the difference must then be considered, especially when standard options like underinsured or uninsured coverage options are unavailable or also fail to cover all the expenses.

In a recent Appeals Court case, Borden v. Progressive Direct Ins. Co. (14-P-449), an injured woman had to look to the personal policy of the driver after he hit her car in a work truck. In any car accident case, the injured person first looks to see if the at-fault driver has an insurance policy that will provide funds toward the expenses. In Borden, the woman was hit by a tow truck used to transport automobiles to and from dealer lots and sales auctions. The accident-causing driver was hired to assist with work as needed by the owner of the truck, and he had used his own vehicle to arrive at the owner’s garage on the day of the accident. The at-fault driver was on his way in the company truck to pick up a car for delivery when he hit a car, injuring the passenger in the car.

Since the at-fault driver was driving during the course of his employment, the tow truck owner’s insurance policy was used to cover the injured passenger’s medical expenses. However, that was not enough to cover her medical expenses, so the injured woman filed a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company’s personal policy. The company denied the claim, arguing that the driver’s coverage did not extend to accidents that occurred while he was driving another vehicle for an auto business. The policy definition of an auto business included delivering vehicles.

The Appeals Court pointed out that, while insurance coverage follows the insured individual, the general rule is that the insurer of a personal automobile is only expected to provide coverage for other vehicles driven occasionally. The court felt that the at-fault driver’s use of the employer’s vehicle fell outside the ordinary risks contemplated by insurers of personal use automobiles, and that the personal policy specifically excluded auto delivery, which the court felt included towing. The court upheld the lower court ruling that the personal insurance policy precluded coverage.

Borden shows a way to pursue an alternative path to monetary damages. The Massachusetts personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of James K. Meehan have extensive experience handling car accident claims and can help you try to maximize the damages you deserve. If you or a family member has been in a car accident and face mounting bills, contact our office to determine your best legal recourse for relief at 508.822.6600.

More Blog Posts:

Appeals Court of Massachusetts Reviews Slip and Fall on Ice at Hospital, Massachusetts Injury Lawyers Blog, April 28, 2015
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Upholds Jury Award to Injured Child Harmed from Overdose of Motrin, Massachusetts Injury Lawyers Blog, April 21, 2015