Superior Court Strikes Down Underinsured Motorist Household Exclusion
Posted Scott B. Cooper on Jul 19, 2013 in Motorcycle Accidents
Yesterday, July 19, 2013, the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued a published decision in Swarner v. Mutual Benefit which reverses a trial court opinion and finds that a household exclusion in an insurance policy is not valid, under the facts of the case. In the case, the Plaintiff Swarner was a passenger on a motorcycle. The motorcycle hit Vehicle A as it made a left hand turn in front of Swarner who was thrown off the motorcycle and landed in the road.
After a brief period of time, while she was lying unconscious in the roadway, she was then hit by Vehicle B. Swarner settled for the bodily injury (BI) limits from both insurers for operators of Vehicles A and B and the underinsured motorist (UIM) limits on a personal motorcycle policy for the vehicle Swarner was operating. Swarner then sought UIM coverage on a personal household vehicle policy with Mutual Benefit which denied coverage asserting a household vehicle exclusion.
The trial court found in favor of the insurance company and upheld the exclusion by finding that the exclusion applied because Swarner was "occupying" the motorcycle when she was hit by the second vehicle. The Superior Court reverses and finds that because Swarner is not "occupying" the motorcycle when the second vehicle which caused injury struck her that the exclusion does not apply.
For a copy of the opinion please e-mail Scott Cooper at Schmidt Kramer at scooper@Schmidt Kramer.com.
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