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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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