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Injury victim's right to recovery lost after attorney didn't object to insurer's attorney's error

Martica Wilson was hurt in a car wreck while insured with USAA.  She had bought optional underinsured motorist coverage from USAA.  When she attempted to collect, however, USAA stalled.  Just at the applicable three-year statute of limitations, she filed suit.  USAA then named the at-fault driver as a non-party at fault, under the court rules, but didn't name the driver within the 90-day time limit.  Wilson's attorney didn't object and instead joined the at-fault, Mary Shrosbree, as a party defendant.

Shrosbree then sought dismissal, arguing that she wasn't properly sued within the three year time limit--and the time limit wasn't extended because USAA and Wilson didn't comply with the pertinent court rule on naming and joining at-fault third parties.  The trial judge rejected Shrosbree's motion for summary disposition, but on appeal the Court of Appeals overturned the judge.  It held that Shrosbree was properly dismissed from the case summarily, regardless of fault.  Meanwhile, presumably, her absence will eviscerate Wilson's Underinsured Motorist Claim, because Wilson's attorneys didn't object to the UIM insurer's late notice of third-party fault.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262