Monday, December 14, 2015

Maryland Law Now Requires Early Disclosure

On May 30, 2015, the Maryland General Assembly voted to enact a bill that has a significant impact on an Insurer’s requirement to disclose policy limits in the pre-litigation phase of a case.

Senate Bill 146, which went into effect on October 1, 2015, repeals certain prior requirements before policy limits may be disclosed pre-litigation.  Previously, a claimant was able to obtain documentation of a tortfeasor’s policy limits only after providing in writing: the date of the accident; name and last known address of the alleged tortfeasor; a copy of the vehicle accident report, if available; the insurer’s claim number, if available; health care bills and documentation of the claimant’s loss of income resulting from the vehicle accident, and treatment records for the claimant’s injuries caused by the accident.  The applicable limits of coverage was then disclosed if the amount of the health care bills and loss of income documented by the claimant was at least $12,500.00. Under the prior regulations, claimants were often forced to file suit and obtain policy limits information during the discovery phase of proceedings.

Under the new law, a claimant may obtain documentation of policy limits by simply providing: the date of the accident; the name and last known address of the alleged tortfeasor; a copy of the accident report if available; and the insurer’s claim number, if available.  There is no longer a requirement to provide copies of health care bills, treatment records, or documentation of loss of income.  Further, the damages threshold of $12,500.00 has been removed.  As such, expect that there will be a substantial increase in requests for policy limits, perhaps even included in an initial notice of representation.

Please contact an attorney at RSR&M if you have questions about this law or how it applies to your claim handling.

Contributed by Tara A. Barnes

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