Without a doubt, insurance policies are hard to read. After all, who writes this way. Furthermore, they are even harder to understand without a law degree. As a result, oftentimes they are filled with ambiguous terms. Whether that ambiguity is held against the insurance company depends on a number of factors. Hence, an ambiguous policy can work for or against you. Consequently, lawyers tend to argue ambiguity to try and get justice for their clients. Bardsley v Government Employees Insurance Co. is a case where a party challenges a policy’s clarity.
Ambiguous Terms in SC Insurance Policies
Ludwig drove a Maserati owned by his company SDI. While going between 85 to 96 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone, Ludwig lost control. As a result, he crashed his car into the rear of the Bardsley’s home. In addition, he struck Frederic, killing him, and then continued through the home and onto the front yard. At the time of the accident, SDI and Ludwig had $3 million in liability coverage. Furthermore, the Bardsleys had a State Farm homeowner’s policy for $500k. And finally, the Bardsleys also had auto insurance through Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) that provided $400k in underinsured motorists coverage. Although GEICO covered property damage, it would be excess over other valid insurance. Subsequently, State Farm paid to repair the home but then claimed that Bardsley should reimburse them. GEICO refused to pay anything for the property damage. No surprise here.
Ultimately, Bardsley settled with State Farm and reimbursed State Farm via a settlement with Ludwig. However, she later sued GEICO for her losses. After hearing arguments, the trial court found the other insurance provision to be ambiguous but offered no reasoning. Rather, the judge granted summary judgment in favor of Bardsley, and GEICO appealed. However, the SC Supreme Court reversed and found that the GEICO policy was, in fact, not ambiguous. Instead, a contract provision is only ambiguous if more than one meaning is possible or if the meaning is unclear. Here, the Court found nothing about the provision was unclear. In addition, the Court found no factual or legal basis in the circuit court’s Order. Consequently, the Order could not stand. It is ironic that the ambiguity in the Order was more important than the ambiguity in the policy. Go figure.
Lawyers and Contracts
So leave it up to lawyers to cluster up a written agreement. Then they cluster it up further on appeal. You just cannot make this stuff up. However, on a serious note, little phrases in contracts can make a big difference. Try not to worry. This is what we do, and we are here to help when you need us. After all, ambiguous terms are what lawyers live for. Call now for more information and options. You’ll sleep better after learning your rights and what to expect.
Because pothole motorcycle accident remains a serious risk for motorcyclists, we explore how to avoid them here. However, bikers cannot always see them until it’s too late. Unlike a car where only physical damage occurs, potholes can cause serious injury in motorcycle accidents.
Pothole Motorcycle Accident
While the best part of riding, bikers don’t ride at high speeds at all times. For one, the road a biker is riding on may have a high speed limit. In some cases, potholes exist on interstates and busy roads. A car or truck, for example, will run over a pothole with no problem. Regular cars can dip in and out of a pothole with little to no problem. In the worst case scenario, a car may end up with a flat tire. On the other hand, a pothole can cause the wheel of a motorcycle to get stuck. If this happens the motorcyclist can lose his or her balance or even fly off of the bike.
While many people believe motorcyclists drive recklessly, they only remember the “hot dogs” on the road. However, this is actually not the case as most motorcyclists drive quite defensively. Why? Because they know the risks of serious injury or death. As a result, bikers watch out for their safety and are hyper focused when riding. Nevertheless, motorcyclists cannot depend on other vehicles to treat them with common courtesy. In addition, the dangers of potholes remain a constant threat to biker safety.
Motorcyclists Have to be Safe or Die
If a biker suddenly cuts off another car to avoid a pothole, they are trying to avoid catastrophe. Hence, if a biker hits a pothole at high speeds, it can kill them. As a result, bikers must always keep a sharp eye for potholes. In addition, this is just one of the dangers bikers face every time they are on the road. Consequently, they are some of the most safety conscious drivers because their lives depend on it.
While everyone knows about texting and driving, here’s something the phone makers could do.
Texting While Driving Dangers
Because we already know the dangers, this blog won’t remind you of the obvious. And it appears older adults are actually worse than teenagers this time. However, despite new laws and harsher penalties, people still keep texting and driving. Rather, no matter what, we just can’t seem to stop ourselves. So what else is there to do? While there are many ideas out there, here is one that actually would seem to work.
Technology Solutions and “Drivers Mode”
Currently, I own two vehicles. While I still love my 12 year old Lexus, it still has a cassette player. Certainly, it is “old school” but still rides like a dream. And if I have my key on me, it unlocks the doors as I approach. For years, I thought this was pretty fancy stuff. However, I recently bought a new Chevy truck which is pretty amazing. Now, once I plug in my phone, most things are by voice command. Furthermore, the truck resets most functions including BlueTooth and streaming music. So why not set my phone to “drivers mode” that would stop any texting while in motion? After all, technology already prevents other activities in the car. Finally, we may have a solution to stop ourselves.
In addition to serious personal injury claims, our firm also defends DUI charges. As part of that practice, we have learned the many physical and mental divided tasks needed to drive. Consequently, there are studies that show texting is actually more dangerous than driving impaired. While I initially questioned those findings, I now agree. Why? Because someone knows they are not safe, they at least try to focus on driving. However, people texting think they are fine and look away for “just a few seconds.” However, at highway speeds, they can go several hundred yards down the road without looking. And that’s when very bad things can happen. Consequently, lives are changed forever in an instant. Sadly, it’s too late then.
A motorcyclist and car collided Saturday night in Columbia, killing the motorcyclist upon impact.
According to the police reports, the defendant was attempting to make a left hand turn onto Burdell Drive, when he intoxicatingly failed to yield to the oncoming motorcycle, and the motorcycle hit the right front passenger door of the defendant’s car.
The 26-year-old driver of the vehicle that hit the biker is now facing a slew of charges, including a “hit-and-run charge, driving under suspicion of a second offense, open container chargers, drug and possible distribution charges, failure to render aid and lastly, a Felony DUI.”
When a person causes serious injury or sadly death by vehicle in SC while driving under the influence, their charge is automatically elevated to a felony, as opposed to just a DUI. Moreover, when a person causes peril for another, and then fails to render aid or assistance to them, they can also be charged. This is the epitome of a hit-and-run, and another mechanism for punishing those who do so.
The Richland County EMT rushed the young man to Palmetto Health, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival due to the injuries suffered. The young victim’s parent were not aware of the accident until the body was discovered Sunday morning.
The defendant left the scene of the crime immediately after fatally wounded the victim; yet returned to the scene later, where an eye witness’s description allowed the police to identify and apprehend the defendant.
If you have been seriously injured by a drunk driver on your motorcycle or in your vehicle, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for information on your options.
A man from Indian Land has been pronounced dead after a terrifying motorcycle accident in Lancaster County. According to the police reports, the 68-year-old was riding a 2007 Harley Davidson westbound on South Carolina’s Highway 903 after 12:45 p.m.
He was traveling at the posted speed limit when all of the sudden he tipped over or “spilled” from the motorcycle. No sources have been able to state yet why the man was unable to stabilize himself throughout his route.
What witnesses have stated, however, is that the man had been riding motorcycles for almost 50 years and was considered one of the most experienced riders in his community.
The resident retired at Sun City Lakes adult retirement community, where he had a reputation for riding. He was active in activities both in and outside of the retirement facility.
People who knew him spoke well of him, but always made mention of his love for riding motorcycles, and how safe and careful he always was when traveling on his bike. Further, at the time of the accident, the man was wearing his helmet.
The actual cause of death is still yet to be determined; however the man was pronounced dead on scene, so he most likely suffered very little. Officials are working diligently to determine the exact cause of death.
What is important to note about this particular story is that even the most experienced riders can have fatal accidents while driving their motorcycle. Thus, extra safety precautions are always a must, as they may reduce the likelihood of serious injury or even worse, death. If it is determined that someone else was at fault, the family of the rider may have a wrongful death claim for the other driver’s negligence.
Sometimes, no matter how many safety precautions you have taken, accidents are unpredictable and sometimes, unavoidable. If you, or someone you know has been involved in any sort of serious motorcycle accident, contact the attorneys at Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP to discuss your case at 877-374-5999. The initial consultation is free, and our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys are personally available to help fight for the compensation you deserve.
The intersection is the most dangerous place for those riding motorcycles. An intersection may be in the center of an urban area or at the driveway in a residential street; basically anywhere that traffic crosses the rider’s path. The most often encountered dangers include cars turning in front of the rider, including such occurrences as cars turning left from the lane to your right and cars that pull into the rider’s lane on side streets.
Problem: One major problem is that motorcyclists are not as visible to drivers, so there is no guarantee that others see you when you are riding. The fact that a driver has engaged in eye contact with a rider does not guarantee the driver will yield. It is too often that a driver looks directly at a motorcyclist and still fails to actually “see” the rider. Therefore, the only person on the road the rider can count on is himself or herself. The safe bet is when a car can enter your path, assume that it will.
Safety Tips: So, the idea behind this article is for a rider to increase his or her chances of being seen at an intersection. We recommend that riders increase chances of being seen at intersections by riding with headlights on at all times, ride in the lane that provides the best view, and provide a space cushion around the motorcycle that permits the rider to take elusive action.
At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, we have riders in our office, and want to ensure that they are as safe as possible while traveling the North and South Carolina roads. Please listen to our pointers and be as safe as possible out there. However, we are here to help if you or another close friend, who rides, is injured in an accident. Too often we see automobiles involved in accidents with motorcycles simply because they were not paying attention and did not see the rider.
Therefore, if you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, do not hesitate to call the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP at our Baxter Village office in Fort Mill, South Carolina at 803-548-4444, or toll-free at 877-374-5999, and we will be happy to assist you.