Bangor Injury Lawyers Must Often Fight for Uninsured Motorist Coverage

A Bangor man is facing numerous charges following a hit-and-run crash that occurred late one recent weeknight.

According to the Bangor Daily News, the 32-year-old crashed into a moving van that was parked on Ohio Street. Inside the van, a passenger was injured. By the time police arrived, the at-fault driver had fled. Police then received a tip from a caller who said a man she knew was at her door, covered in blood. He had been drinking alcohol, and she had warned him earlier not to drive. He matched the physical description of the driver who fled. Officers arrived, and the man ran away on foot, but was caught soon after.

Bangor hit-and-run accident attorneys know the plaintiff in this case was fortunate that police were able to catch the man, and further that he was tracked while there was still alcohol in his system. This will allow prosecutors in the criminal matter to make a strong case for OUI, as well as leaving the scene of a personal injury crash.

With regard to the civil case, it boosts the assertion of negligence of the at-fault driver, which may ultimately lead to higher punitive damages, if the court determines such compensation is appropriate.

But perhaps what is most important is that he was identified. That means the injured party will have an opportunity to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In many hit-and-run cases where the at-fault driver is never located, the injured party must seek uninsured motorist coverage from their own insurer.

Generally, insurance companies tend to be interested in mitigating their own liability, and there are numerous loopholes in the policy language upon which insurers attempt to deny coverage. Our attorneys are experienced in helping to secure damages for our clients.

One case that expanded the circumstances under which individuals may be awarded damages was the 2004 case of Butterfield v. Norfolk & Dedham Mut. Fire Ins. Co., decided by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

In that case, neither vehicle involved in the collision wherein the plaintiff’s daughter was killed was insured. The father sought coverage under his own uninsured motorist policy. His insurer denied the claim on the grounds that his daughter was not covered, because while she was a family member, she did not reside with him. This ran contrary to policy language.

The father sued the insurer for breach of contract, asserting he was entitled to damages because the at-fault driver was not insured. A trial court found in his favor, and the high court affirmed this ruling.

The court indicated that because of prior rulings, insurers began adding language in standard policies that limited insurance contracts. In this case, the language of the policy was an attempt to skirt the minimum requirements of the state’s uninsured motorist laws.

Despite two dissenting opinions in that case, the court was clear in saying insurers do have the authority to enact limits to coverage on reasonable grounds. However, the imposition of limits to the point where state statutes requiring such coverage are rendered meaningless won’t be tolerated by the courts.

In a hit-and-run case, there is no guarantee even if the driver is identified that he or she will have insurance – or adequate insurance. In fact, this is one primary reason many of these drivers flee in the first place.

Regardless of the circumstances, we are prepared to fight for your right to just compensation.

If you are the victim of a Bangor car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Bangor man facing multiple charges after leaving scene of accident, fleeing police, June 26, 2014, By Ryan McLaughlin, Bangor Daily News

More Blog Entries:

Maine Traffic Accidents and the Risk of Higher Speed Limits, June 11, 2014, Bangor Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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