Being involved in a Massachusetts automobile accident can be difficult enough, on its own. Damage to one’s automobile, pain and suffering from physical injuries, and time off of work while recuperating are all common problems for those who are hurt due to others’ negligence behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, the accident itself may be only the beginning of an extended period of difficulty for those involved in a crash. Dealing with insurance companies about personal injury protection, property damage claims, and other issues can be extremely difficult and time-consuming, especially for those who are not represented by an attorney.
Facts of the Case
In a recent (unreported) appellate court case, the plaintiff was a medical services provider who filed suit against the defendant insurance company, seeking to recover personal injury protection (PIP) benefits on behalf of a patient who was involved in an automobile accident in 2011. The defendant filed an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint, asserting the affirmative defense of noncooperation.
The case was tried to a jury, which found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff appealed.
What the Court Decided on Appeal
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the lower court’s ruling. The plaintiff argued that the trial court had erred in not granting it a directed verdict on the defendant’s noncooperation defense, but the appeals court disagreed. According to the court, the jury could have found that the patient had failed to appear at an examination under oath regarding her PIP claim on three separate occasions over a five-month period and that this amounted to noncooperation.
Although the plaintiff argued that there was insufficient evidence that the patient had received notice of the examinations under oath, the court pointed out that the defendant offered into evidence a letter of representation from the patient’s attorney, to whom the notices were mailed in the regular course of business. The court stated that, ultimately, the question of whether the defendant’s letters to the patient’s attorney fairly put the patient on notice of the scheduled examinations under oath was a question for the jury. Therefore, the trial court had ruled properly in denying the plaintiff’s motion for a directed verdict on the issue.
Looking at the evidence in the light most favorable to the defendant on appeal, the defendant’s letters to the patient’s attorney were sufficient to allow the jury to conclude that the patient was properly notified – yet failed to appear – for the examinations at which she had been requested to give information in support of her PIP claims.
Call a Cape Cod Personal Injury Lawyer
Dealing with insurance companies after a car accident can be a real challenge. Insurance agents, claims adjusters, and insurance company lawyers are in the business of handling such matters, and they always have the company’s bottom line in mind. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you need an experienced Cape Cod injury lawyer looking out for your interests. To schedule a free case evaluation with the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, call us now at 888-262-6664. Our offices are located in Hyannis and Plymouth, and we serve clients throughout the Cape Cod area.
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