Maryland Accident Lawyer Summary of Schuler v. Erie Insurance Exchange, 81 Md. App. 499 (1990)
In this Montgomery County, Maryland case, a pedestrian was injured in a car accident when he was struck by an uninsured motorist. The pedestrian's car was insured by MAIF. The pedestrian's wife drove a company vehicle with an Erie Insurance Exchange commercial policy, with the employer as the named insured.
After the pedestrian was struck by the uninsured car (as he was standing next to his own automobile, a 1983 Camero, at the time of the accident), he sought recovery under the Erie policy as opposed to the MAIF policy because, not surprisingly, the Erie policy had higher limits (20/40 as opposed to 100/300). (Note: the minimum car insurance coverage in Maryland is now is 30/60.)
The pedestrian's accident attorney's claim was denied by Erie and the lawyer brought suit on behalf of the pedestrian. Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge DeLawrence Beardudge entered summary judgment for Erie and the pedestrian's attorney appealed.
The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed, ruling that under the unambiguous language of the insurance policy, the pedestrian was not covered for UM or PIP benefits because he was not the insured or a relative of the insured (which was his wife's company), and the accident did not occur while he was using his wife's car.
In dicta, the court mused that if both policies were applicable, the pedestrian's personal injury attorney would have the right to choose between the MAIF and the Erie policies. This is probably not so, based on section 19-513 of the Maryland Insurance Code, the policy language and Maryland law covering the coordination of multiple insurance policies.
So, ultimately, the court found that the named insured and the subscriber were insured by the Erie Insurance Exchange Policy even though the subscriber was not listed on the declarations page
The court explicitly acknowledged that the only named insured on the declarations page was the corporation and that the subscriber was not listed as a named insured. Still, the subscriber was covered under the policy language. The lesson is that the policy language extends coverage to the subscriber even when she is not listed as a named insured.Information on Erie
- Dealing with Erie on accident claims
- Sample Erie Interrogatories (sample of the types of written questions you can expect from Erie during a lawsuit)
- Sample Erie Interrogatory Answers (sample of Erie's answer to written discovery in an uninsured motorist case)
- Sample Erie Expert Designation (expert designations in an Erie accident lawsuit)
More on Uninsured Motorist Coverage
- An overview
- Uninsured motorist FAQs
- Uninsured Interrogatories
- Sample Uninsured Motorist Circuit Court Complaint
- Maryland Uninsured Motorist Statute
- Breach of Contract: The Nature of an Uninsured Motorist Claim (better understanding the sometimes counter-intuitive UM claim)
- Contact us or call 1-800-553-8082 if you want our thoughts on your claim