When a person is injured by someone else’s negligence in a Washington automobile accident, he or she may want to seek compensation from the negligent party. In some cases, however, the negligent party may not have sufficient insurance or may be unidentified. In such cases, the injured person may seek recovery from his or her own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. If the insurance company denies the claim, the injured person may have to sue his or her own insurance company.
In a recent case, a man challenged the dismissal of claims against his insurer. The plaintiff was injured while riding his bicycle. There were no witnesses. The plaintiff cannot remember the accident, but believes he was hit by an automobile. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in the hospital for 10 days. He reported the accident to his automobile insurer. The insurer denied his underinsured motorist (UIM) claim because it did not find evidence he was hit by a vehicle. The insurer reopened the claim after being contacted by the plaintiff’s attorney, but denied it again. The plaintiff sued his insurer for breach of contract, negligence, and violations of the Insurance Fair Conduct Act and the Consumer Protection Act.
The insurer moved for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether he had been hit by a vehicle. The insurer also argued his other claims were barred by the statute of limitations. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.