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Court loosens insurance recovery cap


Marylanders injured by a state vehicle can recover more than the $50,000 limit the state has set. They can turn to their auto insurance to make up the difference between the state cap and the maximum of their underinsured motorist provision, Maryland's highest court ruled yesterday.

In reviewing two cases, the Court of Appeals said the state's $50,000 limit, set by the General Assembly, is meant to constrain the state. It does not limit recovery from an insurance company.

The ruling stems from a suit filed by John and Tommie Sue Popa, whose son Jonathan died in July 1991 when a state trooper's vehicle struck his stopped car.

A Cecil County Circuit Court jury awarded them $867,000. They accepted $50,000 from the state. Their insurance company balked at paying them $250,000 -- the difference between the state cap and the $300,000 ceiling on their underinsured motorist coverage.

Pub Date: 12/24/98

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