The West Virginia Supreme Court last week dealt with a common problem in car accident cases: the defendant has no coverage. The Plaintiff, who suffered serious injuries, tried to bring a claim against Nationwide Insurance after it disclaimed coverage because the defendant’s insurance policy had been canceled. Defendant claimed he did not know the policy was canceled. (They somehow never seem to know.)
Plaintiff in this case was blameless. He was driving a van and struck a sport utility vehicle head-on. He suffered real injuries: a broken femur, concussion, low grade coma, broken nose, broken ribs, bruised shoulder, injured hips, and multiple bruises, cuts and scrapes. Plaintiff files suit and gets a default judgment of over $6 million. Of course, that and a quarter will buy you a turn at the arcade.
So Plaintiff tagged the Defendant as a use Plaintiff and filed suit against Nationwide Insurance alleging civil conspiracy, the tort of outrage (who knew?) and a host of other things. Ultimately, Nationwide Insurance’s defense – “Hey, we didn’t cover the guy” – carried the day.
Not mentioned: where was the Plaintiff’s uninsured motorist coverage.
You can read the full opinion in Negri v. Nationwide Insurance here.