Monday, September 26, 2011

Ejected and Rejected: Household Exclusion Upheld in Motorcycle Accident Case

Tort Talkers may recall that I previously reported on the household exclusion case of Allstate v. Hymes, in which Judge O'Brien of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas ruled that the Court agreed with Allstate that the clear and unambiguous language of the household exclusion applicable to that case barred the injured party’s UIM claim. 

The claimant in that case was a motorcyclist, who was injured when he was thrown from his motorcycle during the course of an accident.  The claimant made the novel argument that provisions of the Allstate policy were not implicated and should therefore not apply because he was not "on" his motorcycle at the time he was injured; rather, the motorcyclist was allegedly not injured until he impacted 20 feet away from his motorcycle.  More details on the case and the issues presented can be viewed at this prior Tort Talk posting on the trial court's decision: 

http://www.torttalk.com/2010/08/that-hurts.html.

Recently, on September 13, 2011, the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued an Opinion in which they affirmed the trial court's decision.  See Allstate v. Hymes, 2011 WL 4036094 (Pa.Super. Sept. 13, 2011 Panella, Shogan, Colville, JJ.)(Opinion by Panella, J.)(Dissent by Colville, J.).

The Superior Court reviewed the law of contract/policy of insurance construction and agreed with the trial court's decision that the clear and unambiguous language of the Household Exclusion served to preclude coverage under the facts presented.

The Superior Court's Opinion in Allstate v. Hymes can be viewed here.

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