Auto AccidentMassachusetts Appellate Court Discusses Rule Regarding When Insurers Owe Insureds a Duty in Motor Vehicle Accident Appeal

August 24, 20180

As seasoned Boston car accident lawyers, we often deal with insurance companies on behalf of our clients. As a result, we are familiar with the tactics that they use and the fact that they do not always have your best interests in mind. If you suffered injuries in a car accident and are dealing with an insurance company or multiple insurers, we are standing by and ready to assist you with seeking the compensation that you deserve.A Massachusetts appellate court recently issued a decision in a claim in which the insureds alleged that special circumstances existed that required an insurance company to recommend that the plaintiffs purchase underinsured motorist coverage. The plaintiffs had brought a lawsuit against the insurer, and the insurer filed a motion for summary judgment in the claim, which the lower court granted.

In general, Massachusetts law states that an insurer does not have a duty to make recommendations about insurance coverage or to provide guarantees that a policy is adequate for the insurer’s needs. An insured can overcome this standard by showing that a special circumstance existed that created a duty between the insurer and the insured. This involves presenting evidence of specific representations or assertions regarding the sufficiency of the coverage provided in addition to evidence showing that the insured relied on those representations or assertions.


The plaintiffs appealed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment, providing the court with an opportunity to review this rule and the evidence that a plaintiff must present to overcome the presumption against a duty between an insurer and an insured. The facts in the record showed that the insurer did not make any representations or assertions and that the discussion between the parties was routine. The appellate court cited prior cases discussing this rule and situations in which a special circumstance did arise, such as when an insurance agent convinced the plaintiffs to purchase a policy but then failed to inform them that the application was rejected. In another case, the court found a special circumstance existed when the plaintiffs made specific inquiries regarding the sufficiency of policy limits, and the agent made assurances regarding the sufficiency of those limits.

Comparatively, the plaintiff testified that he had three conversations with the insurer about the insurance before the accident giving rise to the dispute. One conversation was about adjusting coverage for new cars, the second was about reporting accidents, and the third was about purchasing a separate umbrella policy. Since none of these conversations involved underinsured motorist coverage or specific questions about the adequacy of the plaintiff’s policy, the appellate court upheld the grant of summary judgment.

If you were injured in a car accident, there are many reasons why it is in your best interest to consult a Boston motor vehicle accident lawyer. At the Mass Injury Group, we provide dedicated and personalized legal guidance to victims and their families throughout Massachusetts. Contact us today at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to set up your free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you with claiming the compensation and getting the fair treatment that you deserve.

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