ILNews

Judges differ on insurance coverage

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed about whether a school bus driver who also worked as an independent farmer over the summer should be covered by the school corporation's insurance following a car accident while hauling grain. Judge Melissa May, dissenting from the majority's affirmation of the denial of coverage for the bus driver's accident, worried the majority's interpretation of Exclusion 33 in his insurance policy would require any school employee who may be eligible for workers' compensation coverage to buy it or risk losing insurance benefits provided by the school corporation's health plan.

In Mikel A. Schilling v. Huntington County Community School Corp., et al., No. 35A02-0803-CV-191, Huntington County Community School Corp., Huntington County Community School Corporation Employee Benefit Trust, and American Health Care Partnership Inc., were awarded summary judgment on Mikel Schilling's claims that his health plan pay for his injuries from the accident. Judges Edward Najam and Margret Robb interpreted Exclusion 33 of Schilling's plan through the school corporation to exclude coverage of injuries that would be covered by Indiana's Workers' Compensation Act, regardless of whether workers' compensation was actually obtained by the insured.

Schilling, as an independent farmer, didn't purchase workers' compensation and argued the exclusion needed to state affirmative steps he had to take to purchase the coverage. The majority disagreed, finding the exclusion plainly informed Schilling the plan wouldn't cover injuries coverable by workers' compensation, regardless of whether it had been purchased, wrote Judge Najam.

In Judge May's dissent, she wrote the exclusion implies the purchaser of the workers' compensation would be a school employee, but most aren't self-employed in addition to their school employment. Surely a policy meant to cover a typical school system employee wouldn't exclude coverage just because that typical employee hadn't bought workers' compensation coverage, Judge May wrote. As such, she declined to interpret the exclusion to presume an employee would lose health coverage for any injury covered by workers' compensation that the employee might have been able to buy. Judge May would reverse summary judgment in favor of the school corporation and remand.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
ADVERTISEMENT