Change in Pennsylvania Law Expands Car Accident Victims’ Rights
November 12, 2021
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently upheld a ruling invalidating the “regular use exception” to uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) liability coverage. The Supreme Court’s decision is a monumental win for car accident victims who sustain injuries when they are driving their work vehicles. In light of the Court’s decision, insurance companies can no longer unjustly deny victims benefits that they are entitled to through their personal policies simply because their motor vehicle accident takes place in a work vehicle.
The case that brought around this important ruling, Rush v. Erie Insurance Exchange, involved a dispute between Matthew Rush, a police detective, and Erie Insurance Exchange, his personal auto policy insurer. Mr. Rush sustained major injuries when two vehicles struck his police cruiser. Erie Insurance Exchange claimed that Mr. Rush was ineligible to receive car accident benefits from his policy because his injuries took place in vehicle that he regularly used, did not own, and did not insure under his personal policy with Erie Insurance. In other words, the insurer was looking for an easy way out to avoid compensating Mr. Rush for any of the injuries or damages he sustained by claiming that because he was in his work vehicle (and not his personal one), he was ineligible to receive benefits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of people drive or ride in vehicles as a part of their jobs. Motor vehicle crashes are also the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. Every worker faces significant crash risks, no matter if they drive a light vehicle (like Mr. Rush’s police cruiser) or a heavy one, like a tractor-trailer. The CDC also notes that all workers face crash-related risks whether driving is a main or incidental part of their job duties. Car accidents can also lead to catastrophic and life-altering injuries, such as:
- Internal injuries, like organ damage and bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries that can lead to partial or complete paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other head injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Limb loss and amputation
- Disfiguring facial injuries and permanent scarring
A car accident can change a person’s life in the blink of an eye. Some car accident victims not only sustain serious injuries but also face financial hardships that they were not prepared for. At Galfand Berger, we make sure to stay on top of legal developments that help our clients. Until the Rush v. Erie Insurance Exchange decision, insurance companies were getting away with withholding UM/UIM benefits from injured and vulnerable car accident victims. The ruling is important because not only will it help future victims, but it also sends a loud and clear message: insurance companies cannot continue to dodge their legal obligation to provide benefits to injured car accident victims. The attorneys at our firm have decades of experience with representing car accident victims and put in the work to keep insurance companies honest and not let them get away with harmful exclusions.
If you were injured in a car accident and have questions about filing a claim, someone at our firm can help. A car accident lawyer can help make sure that the victim and their family are not financially impacted and are able to recoup any of the losses they sustained from the crash. The attorneys at Galfand Berger can help you and your loved ones recover benefits for medical bills, ongoing medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. If you would like to learn more, contact a representative online who can help.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Helping Injured Individuals Since 1947
If you have a legal question or concern, please contact our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading Galfand Berger LLP serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.