Belk v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., No. 20692

CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtLITTLEJOHN; LEWIS
Citation244 S.E.2d 744,271 S.C. 24
Docket NumberNo. 20692
Decision Date18 May 1978
PartiesRalph A. BELK, Respondent, v. NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant.

Page 744

244 S.E.2d 744
271 S.C. 24
Ralph A. BELK, Respondent,
v.
NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant.
No. 20692.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
May 18, 1978.

Page 745

[271 S.C. 25] Hayes, Brunson & Gatlin, Rock Hill, for appellant.

Holler, Gregory & McKellar, Columbia, for respondent.

LITTLEJOHN, Justice:

The respondent-insured, Ralph A. Belk (Belk), brought this declaratory judgment action to determine whether Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (Nationwide) had breached an insurance contract by denying Belk coverage thereunder. In addition, Belk sought a judgment against Nationwide in the amount of $5,000.00, representing the coverage to which he claimed he was entitled, and an award of attorney's fees pursuant to § 38-9-320, Code of Laws of South Carolina (1976).

Belk was injured in an automobile collision while driving a 1971 Chevrolet pick-up truck. At the time of the accident, Belk was the named insured on two policies of automobile liability insurance written by Nationwide to cover his two vehicles. Policy No. 61B994963, referred to as "the first policy", insured his pick-up truck and provided for basic personal injury protection (PIP), as required by the statute, in the amount of $1,000.00, and optional additional personal [271 S.C. 26] injury protection (APIP) in the amount of $4,000.00. Policy No. 61B994833, referred to as "the second policy", insured his passenger automobile and provided for the required basic PIP coverage of $1,000.00 and optional APIP coverage of $4,000.00. Nationwide paid Belk $5,000.00 PIP and APIP coverage under the first policy, but denied liability under the second policy. In his complaint, Belk alleged that he had incurred medical expenses and lost wages in excess of $10,000.00, and that Nationwide had breached its contract by refusing to pay $5,000.00 under the second policy.

The lower court held that since Belk's damages exceeded the maximum policy limits of the two policies combined, he was entitled to recover full PIP benefits of $1,000.00, and APIP benefits of $4,000.00, under the second policy. The court further held that Nationwide's refusal to pay Belk

Page 746

the PIP and APIP coverage under the second policy was "without reasonable cause", and ordered Nationwide to pay Belk his attorney's fees in the amount of $1,666.66, pursuant to Code § 38-9-320 (1976). Nationwide appeals.

The basic question before us is whether Belk is entitled to collect either basic PIP benefits and/or APIP benefits under the second policy, after having collected $5,000.00 under the first policy.

Section 56-11-110 of the 1976 Code provides that all automobile liability insurance policies must provide minimum medical, hospital and disability benefits in the amount of $1,000.00. Section 56-11-120 mandates that the insurer must additionally make available the same coverage described in § 56-11-110...

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16 practice notes
  • Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina v. State of S.C., No. 82-1671
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • January 23, 1989
    ...the Legislature, and it is the province of the courts to construe, not to make, the laws. Belk v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, 271 S.C. 24, 27, 244 S.E.2d 744, 746 (1978). We conclude that the Supreme Court of South Carolina would not construe sections 15-3-370 and 15-3-40 to includ......
  • Burgess v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., No. 3863.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 7, 2004
    ...policy issued pursuant to a statute may give more coverage than the statute requires but not less. Belk v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 271 S.C. 24, 244 S.E.2d 744 (1978). Once UIM is offered and accepted, the coverage cannot be retracted. See Gambrell v. Travelers Ins. Cos., 280 S.C. 69, 72, ......
  • In re David, No. 08–33932.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Fifth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of Texas
    • February 21, 2013
    ...the Debtor, as Culpepper's client in the Malpractice Suit, should likewise receive no sanctions for this particular conduct. See Clark, 244 S.E.2d at 744.2. Sanctions Shall Be Imposed Against the Debtor Under the Second Show Cause Order As to the second and third areas of concern, however, ......
  • Pennsylvania Nat. Mut. Cas. Ins. Co. v. Parker, No. 0241
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 16, 1984
    ...Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. Southland Motors, Inc., 279 S.C. 101, 302 S.E.2d 854 (1983); Belk v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 271 S.C. 24, 244 S.E.2d 744 Based on (1) the Supreme Court's policy of strict construction of the motor vehicle insurance statutes, (2) the exclusions recognize......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina v. State of S.C., No. 82-1671
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • January 23, 1989
    ...the Legislature, and it is the province of the courts to construe, not to make, the laws. Belk v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, 271 S.C. 24, 27, 244 S.E.2d 744, 746 (1978). We conclude that the Supreme Court of South Carolina would not construe sections 15-3-370 and 15-3-40 to includ......
  • Burgess v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., No. 3863.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • September 7, 2004
    ...policy issued pursuant to a statute may give more coverage than the statute requires but not less. Belk v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 271 S.C. 24, 244 S.E.2d 744 (1978). Once UIM is offered and accepted, the coverage cannot be retracted. See Gambrell v. Travelers Ins. Cos., 280 S.C. 69, 72, ......
  • In re David, No. 08–33932.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Fifth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of Texas
    • February 21, 2013
    ...the Debtor, as Culpepper's client in the Malpractice Suit, should likewise receive no sanctions for this particular conduct. See Clark, 244 S.E.2d at 744.2. Sanctions Shall Be Imposed Against the Debtor Under the Second Show Cause Order As to the second and third areas of concern, however, ......
  • Pennsylvania Nat. Mut. Cas. Ins. Co. v. Parker, No. 0241
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 16, 1984
    ...Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. Southland Motors, Inc., 279 S.C. 101, 302 S.E.2d 854 (1983); Belk v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 271 S.C. 24, 244 S.E.2d 744 Based on (1) the Supreme Court's policy of strict construction of the motor vehicle insurance statutes, (2) the exclusions recognize......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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