Georgia Court Rejects Uninsured Motorist Claim Based on Statutory Definition of “Uninsured Vehicle”

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia car accident lawsuit filed by an injured motorist against his own insurance policy, under the policy’s uninsured-motorist clause. The case required the court to determine if the insurance company was proper in refusing to accept the plaintiff’s claim, based on the fact that the vehicle the plaintiff was operating at the time was not an “uninsured vehicle” under state law.

Ultimately, the court concluded that the insurance company’s interpretation was correct and dismissed the plaintiff’s claim for compensation.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff’s employer provided the plaintiff with a work truck. The plaintiff used the truck five days a week, and while the plaintiff normally returned the truck to his employer’s place of business after his shift was over, he was not required to do so. The evidence suggested that the plaintiff kept the truck overnight at his residence at least two times.

One day, while the plaintiff was hauling lumber to the yard, two of the truck’s tires blew out. The plaintiff pulled the truck over to the side of the road and began to change the tires. However, as he was changing one of the tires, the tire blew off the wheel, seriously injuring the plaintiff.

The plaintiff recovered $100,000 under his employer’s insurance policy, but since the plaintiff’s injuries exceeded that amount, the plaintiff then filed a claim with his own insurance company under the uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) provision. The insurance company responded that the truck was not an “uninsured motor vehicle” as defined by state law, and it rejected the plaintiff’s claim.

The Court’s Decision

The court began its analysis by citing the statute that requires insurance companies to provide UM coverage. Specifically, OCGA § 33-7-11 (a) states that all Georgia insurance policies must contain coverage for an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. The court then looked at the statutory definition of “uninsured motor vehicle,” which is defined as “a motor vehicle, other than a motor vehicle owned by or furnished for the regular use of the named insured,” which has inadequate coverage.

Thus, the question for the court was whether the truck was a vehicle that was “furnished for the regular use” of the plaintiff. The court concluded that it was, rejecting the plaintiff’s arguments to the contrary. As a result of the court’s decision, the plaintiff will not be able to pursue additional compensation on top of that which he recovered through his employer’s policy.

Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Attorney Christopher M. Simon is a dedicated Georgia personal injury attorney with decades of experience assisting victims and their families in pursuing the compensation they need and deserve from those responsible for their injuries. Call Attorney Simon today at 404-259-7635 to schedule a free consultation. Calling is free, and you will not be billed for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Read More:

Spoliation of Evidence by the Plaintiff in Georgia, Atlanta Injury Attorney Blog, published April 17, 2018

In a Georgia Slip and Fall Case, Testimony Turns the Tide, Atlanta Injury Attorney Blog, published April 23, 2018