Following a motor vehicle collision, the plaintiffs took inconsistent positions regarding the damage to their vehicle. In a recent decision, the California appellate court affirmed the lower court’s judgment in favor of the insurance company. Not only did the court find that evidence had been properly excluded regarding whether the plaintiff’s vehicle was a total loss, but also the court upheld the finding that the insurer was not liable on the claim of negligence per se.
The defendant in this case had been insured, and the company took responsibility for damage to the plaintiffs’ car after a motor vehicle accident. The plaintiffs had repaired their vehicle, but the insurer notified the DMV that it had been a total loss salvage vehicle. This notification took place before reaching a settlement with the plaintiffs.
After the notification, the plaintiffs were unable to register their car and temporarily lost use of it until Mercury informed the DMV of the error. One of the plaintiffs then suffered a heart attack, allegedly from the stress of this dispute with the insurer and the effect of the DMV notification.