If you found yourself involved in an auto accident where you’ve been rear-ended and suffered injuries, what would you do? Would you know the best way to go about pursuing your legal options and getting the fullest and fairest amount of compensation possible? Certainly, you might know that you have the option to pursue a case against the driver who rear-ended you and her auto insurer for damages. However, would you know that your options may not end there?
If the totality of your damages goes beyond the policy limit of the auto insurance policy that the rear-ending driver has with her insurer, you can take an additional step, which is to seek payment under a different insurance policy’s underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage — the coverage on the vehicle you were driving. As is the case in a lot of auto accident lawsuits that involve possible insurance coverage, the insurance company may be aggressive in seeking out avenues that will allow it to avoid paying. That’s one reason why, if you’ve been rear-ended and hurt, you need to be sure you have an experienced Louisiana injury attorney on your side every step of the way.
A recent case from Lake Charles demonstrates how true this is. Here’s what happened: M.B. and his father, R.B., were working on the water well at M.B.’s Lake Charles home. M.B. asked his father to take his truck and go to a local home improvement store to get the needed items. While at Lowe’s, R.B. ran into a friend in need of a ride home. While transporting the friend home, R.B. was rear-ended by K.H. R.B. allegedly suffered serious injuries in the accident.
In this accident, M.B.’s employer owned the truck that R.B. was driving when the crash happened. R.B. pursued a claim against that company’s auto insurance; specifically, its underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. The insurance company opposed payment vigorously, contending that it had no obligation to pay because R.B. was not something called a “permissive driver.”
Why did that matter? If M.B. had given his father permission to use the truck, and M.B. had the authority to grant that permission, then that made the father a permissive driver. If R.B. was a permissive driver, then the insurance company was liable to pay just as if M.B. was driving the truck himself. If R.B. wasn’t a permissive driver, the insurer owed nothing.
Implied permission was the key to the injured driver’s success
R.B. had not received, and could produce no proof, that the owner had given him express permission to drive its truck. What the father needed, then, was evidence of implied permission. In previous cases, courts have found the existence of this sort of implied permission when an employee gave his girlfriend permission to drive the employer’s vehicle, even after the employer orally counseled him not to let others drive the car.
In R.B.’s case, he had proof that the son’s employer allowed the son to use the company truck both for business and for personal uses. Given that evidence, and given that the father was living with the son, it was reasonably foreseeable that the father would drive the truck. “Even the written policies [M.B.] signed contemplated personal use,” according to the court. This all meant that his proof of implied permission was sufficient and R.B. was entitled to the judgment in his favor that he received from the trial court.
What you can take away from this case is that there may be more avenues than you’d think for pursuing a complete recovery from your rear-end accident — including uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage — and that insurers will often battle aggressively to avoid payouts. All of these things display why diligent counsel is so important for you. For skilled and determined representation, reach out to Cardone Law Firm. Contact us to find out more about how our skilled Louisiana injury lawyers can help you take on those liable to you and get the compensation you deserve.
For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
Pursuing Insurance Companies to Get Compensation Following an Auto Accident in Louisiana, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Oct. 14, 2018
Uninsured Motorist Claims in Louisiana and the Top Rules You Need to Know, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Aug. 13, 2018