Kentucky Court of Appeals Overturns Summary Judgment in Car Accident Insurance Lawsuit

by Mandy Hicks

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court’s Order granting summary judgment in a car accident insurance dispute. In Embry v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., two women were involved in a traffic wreck that resulted in injuries. Following the accident, one of the drivers filed a claim for medical and other damages from her automobile insurer. The insurer paid the claim and proceeded to file a lawsuit to recover the money it paid to its insured from the other driver in Jefferson Circuit Court. According to the insurer, the defendant’s negligent actions caused the car crash and all resulting damage.

Although the defendant repeatedly denied responsibility for the collision, the insurer filed a motion for summary judgment with the circuit court. A motion for summary judgment asks a court to rule in favor of one party to a lawsuit without proceeding to trial because no genuine issues of material fact exists for a jury to decide. Normally, a court is required to consider all of the evidence offered prior to the filing of such a motion in favor of the non-moving party.

In its motion, the insurer claimed the defendant caused the crash and asserted that the amount of damages paid to its insured was reasonable. The defendant opposed the insurer’s motion by stating her alleged liability was unclear and the financial compensation sought by the insurer was excessive based upon the severity of the wreck. In addition, the defendant argued that her answers to the insurer’s complaint demonstrated that the facts of the case were disputed. The circuit court granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment and ruled in favor of the company. After the Jefferson Circuit Court denied the defendant’s motion, she filed an appeal with the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

On appeal, the court stated the defendant met her burden of contradicting the insurer’s contention that the issues of both liability and damages were undisputed. According to the court, the defendant’s sworn answers included in the record were enough to call accident fault into question. In addition, the woman’s responses regarding the alleged injuries sustained by the other driver and her passengers raised a material issue of fact sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. The court added that it was up to a jury to decide whether the defendant’s account of the traffic wreck was believable. Since the Jefferson Circuit Court improperly granted summary judgment in favor of the auto insurer, the Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s decision and remanded the car accident case for trial.

If you were hurt in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligent act, you need an experienced Bowling Green personal injury attorney to advocate on your behalf and help you protect your legal rights.  You may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your damages from your insurer as well as the at-fault party.  To discuss your case with a knowledgeable injury lawyer, do not hesitate to contact English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP through our website or give us a call today at (270) 781-6500.

Additional Resources:

Embry v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., Ky: Court of Appeals 2014