Maryland uninsured/underinsured motorist statute is intended to protect innocent victims from the nelgigent conduct of irresponsible drivers who drive without insurance. Maryland courts have demonstrated a tendency to liberally construe the uninsured/undersinured motorist statute to ensure that, when appropriate, the victims of automobile accidents are adequately compensated for the personal injuries they may suffer as a result of such accidents.
Historically, insurance companies have attempted to thwart Maryland’s policy of protecting innocent victims in automobile accident cases. For example, previously, an injured person who made a claim for the limits available under an at-fault party’s liability policy was prevented by his or her uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier from giving the liability carrier a full release of the claim. As a result, the injured person usually became caught in a situation where the liability carrier would not give them the limits of the at-fault party’s policy without a release and the uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier would not allow them to give a release. The innocent party usually got stuck between a rock and a hard place since they were effectively prevented from recovering a settlement from either carrier. This problem caused unnecessary delays in settlement and hurt those injured as a result of the irresponsible and negligent acts of others.
Maryland lawmakers attempted to eliminate this problem by requiring the uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier to do one of two things: (1) either allow the injured party to settle with the at-fault party’s liability carrier and provide a release; or (2) pay the injured victim directly if it intended to preserve subrogation rights against the at-fault party. Under this scheme, the innocent injured party gets his or her money more quickly.