by John Hawkins | October 14, 2005 11:18 pm
Ethal Adams was driving along minding her own business when a pickup truck (travelling in the opposite direction) was forced into her lane by another driver. Adams was in a coma for nine days, had a collapsed lung, 17 broken bones and now can only stand with the aid of walker. Amazingly here insurance company, Farmer’s Insurance, has denied her claim saying the incident was not an accident.
But a Farmers’ affiliate, Truck Insurance Exchange, argues that Adams’ state of mind is irrelevant. Even though it was Adams’ insurance policy, the uninsured-motorist portion is designed to cover Testa’s liability. Therefore it’s Testa’s state of mind that matters, and Testa meant to cause the wreck, so it’s not an accident.
Explains a letter from Farmers’ Seattle-based attorney, Ronald Dinning: “The common meaning of ‘accident’ does not depend on the perspective of the injured insured, but instead essentially depends on the intent of the person causing the injury or damage.”
He cited a 1990 Pierce County case in which a woman purposely crashed into a car driven by her ex-husband. The state Supreme Court ruled then that insurance didn’t have to cover the ex-husband’s injuries in part because the outcome wasn’t “unexpected or unforeseen” — that is, it wasn’t an accident.
“It’s also not unexpected or unforeseen that if you are ramming a car from behind with the intent of pushing it into oncoming traffic, you’re going to hit some people,” Dinning said in an interview. “That’s what Testa did. Liability insurance is only for accidents, and this wasn’t an accident.”
My problem is that while the initial part of the crash (Michael Testa’s attempt to force his girlfriend off the road) was not an accident, the secondary and tertiary accidents involving others including Ethel Adams likely were accidents. In fact, it is because of things like this that I buy insurance. I want insurance incase some guy goes bonkers and in trying to do something dumb involves me in the process. From all the data provided by the article there appears to be nothing indicating that Testa wanted to do anything at all to Ethel Adams. Farmer’s Insurance and all of its senior officers are despicable humans for not immediately correcting this kind of thing.
This content was used with the permission of Outside the Beltway.
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