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Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Published Articles | 0 comments

Guest Statute May Bar Recovery for Family Members

Guest Statute May Bar Recovery for Family Members

Indiana’s Guest Statute (Indiana Code 34-30-11-1) works to limit or prohibit passengers in automobiles from recovering from automobile liability insurance companies when the drivers cause injuries to their passengers in accidents. Indiana’s Guest Statute states that drivers are not liable for loss or damage arising from injuries to or the death of the drivers’ parents, spouse, children or stepchildren, brothers or sisters, or hitchhikers to whom they have given a ride.  Because automobile liability insurance companies in Indiana only have to pay the damages that their insureds are legally responsible to pay, Indiana’s Guest Statute works to prohibit family members (and hitchhikers) from recovering from the insurance companies that insure the moms, dads, brothers or sisters who are driving. For the Guest Statute to bar recovery against drivers and the drivers’ insurance carriers, it is necessary that, at the time of the accident, the passengers are traveling in the car without having paid for the ride. Also, if the injuries result from the “wanton or willful misconduct” of the drivers,...

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Published Articles | 0 comments

Accident Insurance Coverage for Family Members or Permitted Users in Indiana

Accident Insurance Coverage for Family Members or Permitted Users in Indiana

Under Indiana law, an insured person under an automobile insurance policy may include the “named insured” found on the policy declarations page, a “resident of same household” if permitted by the policy, and a “permissive user.” Common insurance policy language defines a named insured’s “family member” as “a person related to you by blood, marriage or adoption who is a resident of your household.” In determining whether a person residing in a named insured’s household is a “family member” under this provision, Indiana courts consider (1) whether the person for whom coverage is sought maintained a physical presence in the named insured’s home; (2) whether the person had the subjective intent to reside there; and (3) the nature of the person’s access to the named insured’s home and its contents as well as evidence indicative of the person’s living habits. Indiana follows a liberal rule in defining a permissive user. The focus is on whether the person’s use of the vehicle was restricted in the first place, rather than...

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Posted by on Oct 11, 2013 in Published Articles | 0 comments

Auto Accidents While Working? You May Not Have Insurance in Indiana

Auto Accidents While Working? You May Not Have Insurance in Indiana

The scenario: your son uses his car (or your car) in his job delivering pizzas. While working one night, he has an accident. Then you find out that your automobile insurance does not cover the collision because he was using the car in a trade or business. This scenario plays out many times each year, and catches many people by surprise (especially those who are self-employed, those in sales and people working in service industries who use their own vehicles to call on customers). Insurance Coverage While Working Under Indiana law, automobile insurance coverage for damages or losses caused by or to vehicles used in the course and scope of business or employment may be excluded under typical automobile insurance policies. Some policies exclude coverage for losses arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of any motor vehicle during the course of any business or employment, unless the insured has paid a specific premium for business use coverage. However, this point is not without some contention. In at...

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