Massachusetts Appeal Court Affirms Dismissal of Class Action Lawsuit for Unfair Insurance Settlement Practices

Being in a car crash can trigger many months (or even years) of painful consequences for those involved. In addition to physical injuries, those hurt in an accident may be off work indefinitely, have their vehicle declared totaled, and experience other financial losses due to the negligent driver’s conduct.

Compensation for these damages may be available from the defendant’s insurance company, but the plaintiff bears the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. An early start – and assertive legal representation – can prove very helpful in an injured person’s pursuit of full and fair monetary payment for losses suffered in a Cape Cod car accident.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recently decided appellate case was a woman who brought a putative class action seeking declaratory relief against the defendant insurance company for alleged unfair claim settlement practices under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 93A, § 9, and chapter 176D, § 3(9). According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the defendant acted wrongfully when it denied her claims for costs arising from the loss of the use of her vehicle following an accident caused by the defendant’s insured, as well as compensation for the plaintiff’s title, her registration fees, and the residual value of her inspection sticker.

The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint in its entirety, and she appealed.

Decision of the Court

The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the trial court’s decision but modified the judgment in order to declare the rights of the parties. The court noted that the plaintiff’s vehicle had been declared a total loss by the defendant and that she had sent a demand letter claiming that she was entitled to payment for other damages associated with the loss of her vehicle. However, the court found that the defendant had requested – but the plaintiff had refused to provide – documentation or other proof that she actually incurred the costs in question.

With regard to the plaintiff’s loss-of-use claim, the court held that the plaintiff had not substantiated her losses and even admitted that she did not incur actual costs; thus, she was not entitled to loss of use damages. As to the title, registration, and inspection fees aspects of her claim, the court noted that the plaintiff did not contend that these losses constituted “property damage” under the policy at issue. The court then ruled that it was not necessary to consider her claim because she had failed to make an adequate argument based on the language of the policy.

To Speak to a Massachusetts Injury Attorney

Many claims and complications can arise from a motor vehicle accident. At the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, in Hyannis and Plymouth, our experienced Cape Cod car accident lawyers work hard to make sure that those who have been injured or lost loved ones due to a negligent or reckless driver are fully compensated for damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. For an appointment to discuss your case, call us now at 888-262-6664.

Related Blog Posts:

Massachusetts Appeals Court Says “No UM Coverage” When Accident Victim Identified Alleged “Hit and Run Vehicle” and Vehicle Was Insured

Massachusetts Court of Appeals Affirms Defense Verdict in Unfair Settlement Practices Case, Noting Plaintiff’s History of Prior Accidents

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