Auto Accidents Newsletters

Subrogation in Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Cases

When an insurer pays a benefit under a policy provision for underinsured motorist coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, it is in effect paying a debt owed by the underinsured or uninsured driver, the person who is actually liable for the damages arising as a result of the event that led to the insurer having to make the payment. An insurer who makes such payments has a right, the right of subrogation, by which it is permitted to take legal action against the underinsured or uninsured motorist in an attempt to recover as much as possible of the amount the insurer has paid out. The insurer's subrogation right will only have value, as a practical matter, to the extent that the underinsured or uninsured driver has assets that can be seized by legal process to satisfy the judgment that the insurer obtains against the underinsured or uninsured driver in its subrogation action.

Exclusions for Intentional Acts in Motorist Insurance

State legislatures have authorized motorist insurance companies to exclude coverage, including uninsured motorist coverage, for any damages from an intentional act in their policies. Public policy prohibits insurance coverage for intentional acts because a person should pay for his or her intentional injury to another person. Further, the courts have held that injuries caused by an intentional act are not caused by "accident."

Tort Liability for Use of Emergency Vehicles

The operations of emergency vehicles are a common everyday feature on the streets and highways of the United States. These operations consist of the employment of vehicles that include ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks in response to situations demanding more or less immediate reaction. Due to the frequency of their operations and the nature of their use, emergency vehicles are inevitably involved in accidents that result in the bringing of legal actions seeking to recover damages for death, personal injury, or property damage caused by such accidents.

Role of Auto Accident Reconstruction Experts

Automobile accidents can be very messy. In order to determine what led to an accident, an automobile accident reconstruction expert can be employed. The expert will try to determine the most probable reason for the accident. Automobile accident reconstruction experts use information from the accident scene, witnesses, the damaged vehicles, and other sources to make conclusions about how the accident happened and, sometimes, why it happened. The expert can be called to testify at a trial on his or her conclusions in an effort to help the jury.

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.