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Robbing Peter To Pay Paul

Robbing Peter To Pay Paul

  • January 29, 2020

Stenger, Glass, Hagstrom, Lindars & Iuele LLP’s personal injury team assisted in a complicated insurance case where the victim of a serious farm accident is seeking compensation for his injuries. The insurance company refused to provide coverage. A judge dismissed the insurance company’s position and ordered them to provide coverage. Shortly thereafter the insurance company appealed their obligation to provide $300,000 in coverage, delaying when the victim’s case would be heard.

Our client was severely injured when a tractor that had not been properly secured to a flatbed rolled off the truck, crushing him. The Defendant, who owned both the tractor and the farm where the accident took place, was liable for all personal injuries. The Defendant’s automobile insurance company (Plaintiff) did not feel they were obligated to defend or indemnify the farm, or its owner based on how the policy was written.

According to Vehicle and Traffic Law 388, the vehicle’s owner is liable for the negligence of anyone operating his or her vehicle with express or implied permission and that all policies of insurance issued to the owner of any vehicle shall contain a provision for indemnity or security against the liability.

The insurance company argued that the policy for unloading covered machinery was meant only for vehicles that were in “use or operation”. Since the tractor was not moving, they claimed that they were not obligated to defend or indemnify the Defendant, or his farm in this case, leaving our client to pay out of pocket for the devastating injuries. The defendant’s attorney and SDG Law argued that the unloading should be covered under the terms of the policy.

For the victim to get compensated for his injuries, the Defendant needed to receive a payout from his insurance company. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Defendant, but the Plaintiff appealed it in 2019. The Supreme Court Appellate Division recently dismissed the case again, holding that the insurance company is obligated to defend and indemnify the farm under the policy which is great news for Stenger, Glass, Hagstrom, Lindars & Iuele LLP’s client.

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