Auto Accidents Newsletters

Ambiguity in Auto Insurance Policy Language

Policies of motor vehicle insurance are detailed documents that cover numerous aspects of the business relationship between an insurer and its insured. When this fact is matched up with the great variety of ways in which incidents can occur that may give rise to claims under a policy, it will not be considered surprising that the insurer and the insured will sometimes hold differing views of the meaning of a particular policy provision. When a party to a contract of motor vehicle insurance asserts that potential ambiguities exist in the language of an auto insurance policy, courts are often called upon to decide the meanings of the disputed policy terms and rule on related issues of coverage under the policy.

Automobile Fire Insurance

While the popular impression of the flammability of motor vehicles may be exaggerated due to such things as the manner in which they are portrayed on television and in the movies, cars and trucks do contain flammable materials, and they obtain their motive power through the use of flammable fuel. As a result they occasionally catch fire, causing damage to themselves and to objects around them. Fire coverage under policies of motor vehicle insurance has been devised in order to reimburse vehicle owners for the loss and damage sustained in such incidents.

Automobile “Rollover” Products Liability Cases

An automobile rollover accident is known as one of the most dangerous types of accidents that vehicle occupants can experience. When the rollover accident is not fatal, the resulting injuries are serious and disabling, with paralysis and traumatic brain injury commonly reported. Vehicle rollover litigation is very complex, even when the rollover involved a single car. A rollover accident is often the result of interactions among a driver’s action or non-action, the vehicle’s components, the roadway, and weather conditions. Many defective design actions have been litigated involving vehicle rollover accidents.

Personal Injury Automobile Accident Cases

If an insurance policy covers accidents of travel, it must be shown that a death or disability resulted from such a risk before benefits can be paid. A death caused by the collision of automobiles is clearly within the ordinary interpretation of accidental means. This result is not prevented by any negligence of the insured. Courts feel that clauses of this nature must be given a reasonable construction. If the insurance terms are not expressly limited, some courts will extend coverage to situations where the use of an automobile was not an important factor or where the particular loss was fairly removed from an event that involved the use of an automobile. Other decisions, however, are not as generous. Some courts will not trace back an injury to an automobile or extend benefits to a particular loss or expense.

Uninsured Motorists Insurance and Government Vehicles

After an automobile collision, many things can affect whether or not an injured person can recover his or her damages from the owner or driver of the vehicle that negligently caused his or her injuries. Among those factors is whether the vehicle was owned by a governmental entity, like a city or state. Often, governmental entities have immunity from suit by injured persons. In those cases, an injured person may seek to obtain insurance benefits under his or her insurance’s uninsured motorist provision. Because the injured person is unable to sue the governmental entity, the vehicle may be considered uninsured for purposes of the insurance policy.

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Ambiguity in Auto Insurance Policy Language