Earlier this month, the state’s high court issued a written opinion in an Alabama car accident case requiring the court to determine if the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff should be reversed due to the plaintiff’s failure to comply with a clause in the contract with the defendant insurance company. Ultimately, the court concluded that the defendant insurance company was in a position to object but failed to do so prior to trial. As a result, the defendant’s post-trial motion was denied.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was involved in a car accident when she was rear-ended while stopped at a non-functioning traffic light. At the time of the collision, the plaintiff’s husband was driving the car. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the other driver who she claimed was responsible for the accident, as well as her husband’s insurance provider under the underinsured motorist provision.
The day before trial, the plaintiff settled her claim with the other driver and that driver’s insurance company. The plaintiff let her husband’s insurance company know prior to the beginning of trial. However, that policy required advance notice of any settlement that may affect the insurance company’s liability. It was undisputed that the plaintiff did not give the defendant insurance company advance notice.
The defendant insurance company did not object at the time, and the case proceeded toward trial against the husband’s insurance company only. At trial, the attorney for the insurance company told the jurors in his opening argument that there was a valid policy, that the plaintiff was covered, and that the only issue the jurors needed to decide was the amount of damages the plaintiff was owed.
After trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff $1.1 million in damages. The insurance company then, for the first time, brought up the issue of the plaintiff’s late notice of settlement with the other driver. The insurance company claimed that the jury’s verdict should be reversed because the plaintiff was actually not eligible for any award based on her failure to provide adequate notice.
The court disagreed, finding that, notwithstanding the late notice, the insurance company had the opportunity to object but failed to do so. Furthermore, the insurance company even told the jurors that there was a valid insurance policy and stipulated that the plaintiff was covered. The court held that this conduct essentially waived the insurance company’s right to bring the argument up in a post-trial motion. As a result, the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff will stand.
Have You Been Injured in an Alabama Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Alabama car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, you will likely be required to deal with at least one insurance company after the accident. Attorney Greg Reeves has over 30 years of trial experience and knows how to deal with difficult insurance companies. He has a successful track record in all types of Alabama car accident cases. Call 256-355-3311 to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Reeves today.