In July of 2007, the Court of Appeals in Tennessee heard a case that involved a motorcycle accident where the motorcycle was lent to someone and the issue as to insurance coverage came up. (See Progressive Casualty Ins. Co. v. Chapin, 243 S.W.3d. 553 (Tenn.Ct.App 2007).
In Progressive, the Plaintiff insurer issued a policy of insurance for a motorcycle. Id. The named insurer kept the motorcycle at his home and gave his adult son unrestricted access to it. One day the adult son borrowed the motorcycle and then let a friend ride it. The friend took his minor stepdaughter for a ride on the motorcycle and lost control causing injuries to the stepdaughter. Id. The motorcycle accident prompted the biologic father to file a petition against his daughters’ mother in chancery court for a change of custody. Id. There an attorney ad litem was appointed. Id. This ad litem filed a separate tort action against the friend who lent the stepfather the motorcycle. Id. That is when the insurance company filed a declaratory judgment seeking a declaration that its insurance policy did not cover the friend; ie. the son of the named insured. Id. (This is something a Kentucky motorcycle accident lawyer could help further explain to you).
The Defendant Mr. Chapin was the sole owner of the 1994 Suzuki Intruder motorcycle. Id. Plaintiff issued Mr. Chapin and his wife as the named insured. The question as to whether or not the insurance company had to cover the child for the injuries she sustained as a result of the motorcycle accident was the central issue for the court. The court looked at the policy agreement and focused on who was an insured person and who was not. After a trial, the court ruled that the Plaintiff insurance company did have to insure the child for the motorcycle accident. Id. Shortly thereafter, the insurance company appealed.
In this current appellate decision, the Court held that the son was not an insured under the policy and reversed the trial court’s decision. Id. It did so because it said that the son’s friend was a second permittee and thus was not covered under the motorcycle insurance policy unless the second permittee had the permission of the named insured to operate the covered vehicle. Id. Based on the facts of this case, the Court held that such permission was never given to the son’s friend. Id.
Thus, in this motorcycle accident case, a Kentucky motorcycle accident lawyer could help you read and understand your motorcycle policy so that you and your family would understand who was covered by the motorcycle insurance policy and who was not.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky motorcycle accident, please call and speak to a Kentucky motorcycle accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew S. Alitowski at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are injured…Ask Andrew!!!