Wrongful Disclaimer of Liability Insurance Triggers Uninsured Motorist Settlement

A $35,000.00 uninsured motorist case was settled with Hanover Insurance Company on behalf of the plaintiff, an HVAC employee of Western Connecticut State University. The plaintiff, a resident of Wolcott, Connecticut, was driving east bound on Interstate 84 in Middlebury, Connecticut between exit 16 and 17, when the right rear wheel from a vehicle driven by a New Jersey defendant came off. The wheel failure caused the defendant to lose control of his vehicle and strike the plaintiff's side door. The impact caused the plaintiff to lose control of his motor vehicle as his automobile collided with the guard rail. Prior to the tortfeasor's wheel coming off, the defendant's wheel was smoking a quarter of a mile away from the accident scene. This important fact established defendant notice of harmful potential mechanical failure.

As a result of the collision, the plaintiff sustained mild headaches and neck sprain. Both these conditions resolved within a short period of time. The plaintiff received chiropractic care and treated with Associated Neurologists in Danbury, Connecticut for mild short term headaches.

The Rotatori Law Firm of Southbury, Connecticut filed suit in the Waterbury Superior Court against the tortfeasor. In discovery it was determined that the defendant did not purchase liability insurance coverage on his automobile policy written in the State of New Jersey. IFA Insurance company refused to honor drive through clause language in the policy which would raise coverage up to Connecticut's minimum $20,000.00/$40,000.00 requirement.

The plaintif's position was that the policy should be reformed. The defendant carrier refused. Plaintiff's counsel then secured a denial of coverage letter from defense counsel and made an uninsured motorist claim against the Hanover Insurance Company who wrote the plaintiff's uninsured motorist coverage. In Connecticut, a wrongful disclaimer of coverage by a defendant's carrier triggers an uninsured motorist case. Hanover Insurance Company fully, fairly and timely resolved the UM case with the plaintiff.

Hanover Insurance Company now has a subrogation claim against the defendant tortfeasor who caused the accident.

Hanover Insurance Company also has the ability to bring an action against IFA Insurance, if they so choose, to seek a court order by way of declaratory judgement requiring that the underlying defendant be afforded coverage for the tort that he committed. Hanover's rights are called subrogation rights.

This creative plaintiff lawyering by The Rotatori Law Firm allowed the plaintiff a full and final resolution of his claim in a timely manner with the tortfeasor and his insurance carrier still having to deal with the uncertainty of a subrogation claim. Plaintiff lawyering is no different from running a complex offense in sports where impediments to full resolution must be removed by creative experienced play calling and thinking out side the box!


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