Steven Plitt, Expert Witness Steven Plitt, Expert Witness
Insurance Bad Faith Claim Handling Expert Serving Clients Nationwide

February 2018 Archives

Good Samaritan Who Exits Vehicle To Assist Injured Person Still Occupies The Insured Vehicle For Um Purposes

The Rhode Island Supreme Court in Hudson v. GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc., 161 A.3d 1150 (R.I. 2017) recently held, as a matter of first impression, that a passenger riding in an insured vehicle who exited the vehicle in order to render assistance to accident victims as a good Samaritan continued to be an occupant of the insured vehicle when struck by another vehicle at the accident scene.

Rhode Island Supreme Court Enforces Suit Limitation Provision in Policy

In the past, Rhode Island courts have upheld insurance policy provisions that require insureds to commence legal action against the insurance company within a time period that is less than the legislatively-enacted statute of limitations. See, e.g., National Refrigeration, Inc. v. Travelers Indemnity Co. of America, 947 A.2d 906, 912 (R.I. 2008) (two-year limitation provision upheld; Hay v. Pawtucket Mutual Insurance Co., 824 A.2d 458, 460, 461 (R.I. 2003) (Rhode Island courts "have long adhered to the validity of limitations provisions in insurance contracts"). Recently, the Rhode Island Supreme Court in Chase v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co., 160 A.3d 970 (2017) demonstrated that suit limitation provisions will be enforced under Rhode Island law, even though they may be less than the applicable statute of limitations provided that no estoppel exists.

Minnesota Supreme Court Rules that Statutory Attorney's Fees are Capped by the Policy Limit

The question of whether attorney's fees awarded under Minnesota's insurance unreasonable denial statute could exceed the policy limits of the policy was recently addressed by the Minnesota Supreme Court in Wilbur v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 892 NW2d 521 (2017). Under Minnesota statute, Minn. Stat. §604.18 (2016) courts were authorized to award "taxable costs" when an insurance company denies insurance benefits without a reasonable basis. The issue of whether the taxable cost award was kept by the insurance policy limit recently came before the Minnesota Supreme Court. The court in Wilbur concluded that §604.18 unambiguously capped "proceeds awarded" at the amount recoverable under the insurance policy and were therefore capped by the policy limit.

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