Articles Posted in Insurance Policies

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in an Indiana car accident case discussing whether a man who was killed by an uninsured driver was covered under his employer’s car insurance policy. Finding that the policy did not include the employee as a covered person under the terms of the contract, and finding that the terms of the contract were clear, the court rejected the estate’s claim against the insurance company.

Legal News GavelThe Facts

The plaintiff was the estate of a man (“decedent”) who was killed while he was mowing his lawn. Evidently, the decedent was mowing his lawn when a driver who was high on methamphetamine struck him. The at-fault driver did not have car insurance.

The decedent’s employer had an insurance policy that contained uninsured motorist (UIM) protection. Additionally, the decedent was named as a “listed driver” in that policy. However, that policy provided that UIM coverage was extended only to “you and others we protect.” In this case, “you” referred to the decedent’s employer, as the insured.

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In a recent case in front of the Supreme Court of Alabama, the court dismissed a plaintiff’s personal injury case that he had filed against the company he claimed was responsible for insuring him. In the case, Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange v. Grayson, the court determined that the jury verdict below in favor of the insurance company should stand. As a result of the most recent decision, the plaintiff’s case will not be permitted to proceed against the insurance company.

Legal News GavelThe Facts of the Case

Grayson was injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by an uninsured motorist. Rather than sue the uninsured motorist, Grayson filed a claim with his own insurance company under the uninsured motorist provision. He obtained the policy limit of $50,000.

Grayson also filed a claim with his brother-in-law’s insurance company, Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE), seeking additional compensation above and beyond that which was paid by his own insurance policy. While Grayson acknowledged that he was not named on the PURE policy, he argued that he was residing with his sister and brother-in-law at the time of the accident, and therefore he should be covered under the policy.

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1156122_67969442.jpgThe Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s order granting summary judgment for the plaintiffs, and denying summary judgment for the defendants, in a dispute over insurance coverage. In Alea London, Ltd. v. Nagy, et al, two plaintiffs, who had obtained a judgment against a bar for injuries sustained in a bar fight, sued the bar’s insurance company for the judgment amount. The insurer argued that the bar fight constituted an act of battery excluded from coverage. The appeals court agreed, reversing summary judgment for the plaintiffs and instructing the trial court to grant summary judgment for the defendant.

The case originated with a fight that took place on April 30, 2004 at the Copper Penny Sports Bar in Hammond, Indiana. Plaintiff Christopher Buckler had a “verbal exchange” with a woman after he accidentally caused her to spill her drink on herself. Anthony Aponte, apparently in response to the exchange, hit Buckler over the head with a bottle. Buckler’s friend Richard Nagy, Jr., did not witness the battery on Buckler, but saw Aponte leaving the bar with Brandon Odonovich. Nagy followed them, but as soon as he stepped outside the bar, either Aponte or Odonovich struck him in the head with an object, knocking him unconscious.
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