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Accident not covered under insurance policy

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A man who was involved in a car accident while riding in his friend’s vehicle lost his appeal in which he argued that his friend’s car was a temporary substitute for his own and he should be entitled to underinsured motorist coverage.

Mark Gasser and three friends scheduled a time to play golf, but on that day, the battery was dead in his pickup truck. His girlfriend was driving his other car, so Gasser asked friend Rex Kamman to pick him up. On their way to the golf course, they were involved in a collision.

Gasser’s cars were owned by his business, and he had them insured with Auto-Owners Insurance Co. His policy states that it applies to a car that “you do not own which is temporarily used as a substitute for your automobile. Your automobile must be out of use because of breakdown, repair, servicing, loss or destruction.”

Only once has the Court of Appeals addressed a car being a “temporary substitute” for insurance purposes, Deadwiler v. Chicago Motor Club Ins. Co., 603, N.E.29 1365 (Ind. Ct. App. 1992). Deadwiler addressed the “temporary substitute” issue for the first time and determined that a daughter’s car was not a “temporary substitute vehicle” covered under her mother’s policy. The daughter went to check on her sister after being asked by her mother to do so and was involved in an accident. The court held the daughter’s actions were characterized as a favor to her mother rather than as fulfillment of a prior contractual or legal obligation owed to her mother.

The court in Mark Gasser v. Lesa B. Downing, Auto-Owners Insurance Co. and Property Owners Insurance Co., No. 19A05-1108-PL-419, ruled Gasser’s ride to the golf course is similarly a “favor” by Kamman, so Auto-Owners was entitled to summary judgment.

 

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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