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Royal Globe Insurance Company v. Craven

Citation. 411 Mass. 629 (Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1992)
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Brief Fact Summary.

.  After being injured in a hit and run automobile accident, Theresa M. Craven (Craven) was denied recovery under her uninsured motorists policy by Royal Globe Insurance Company (Royal-Globe).  The policy required Craven to notify Royal-Globe within twenty-four hours of the hit and run accident, and she did not notify them for more than four months.   

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

.  In order for estoppel to work, it must appear that one has been induced by the conduct of another to do something different from what otherwise would have been done and which has resulted in his harm.


The accident took place on September 19, 1979.  Craven spent twenty-three days in the hospital after the accident, and did not notify Royal-Globe of her claim until January 23, 1980.  Royal-Globe denied recovery on April 6, 1981; and Craven filed a demand for arbitration on December 12, 1984.

The lower court denied Royal-Globe’s motion for a declaratory judgment that it was not liable to Craven because her notice was not timely.  It granted summary judgment for Craven, and ordered that the matter proceed to arbitration.


Was Royal-Globe liable even though Craven failed to notify the company within twenty-four hours, as required under the policy? 


No.  A judgment that Royal-Globe is not liable to Craven because the notice was not timely should be entered.

·         Craven was excused from giving notice within twenty-four hours because she was in intensive care; however, the requirement was reimposed once her disability was removed. 

·         Craven’s failure to notify Royal-Globe for four months following the accident and over three months after leaving the hospital was not prompt.

·         Craven’s contention that Royal-Globe was estopped from denying her claim because it investigated her claim was unfounded because it did not induce Craven to do anything different than she otherwise would have done.






The policy required an insured to notify the Company of an uninsured motorist accident within twenty-four hours, which Craven was unable to do because she was in intensive care.  However, nothing prevented her from notifying Royal-Globe as

soon as she was better.  Craven failed to notify Royal-Globe for four whole months, and her claim was not timely.  

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