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Auto Accidents Newsletters

Auto Insurance Coverage for Nonowned Vehicles

At times a driver may have permission to use an automobile that he or she does not own. If a driver is in an accident while driving a non-owned car, the driver’s insurance policy will generally cover the non-owned vehicle.

Expert Witnesses in Automotive Products Liability Cases

A plaintiff in a products liability action against the manufacturer or seller of a motor vehicle is generally required to prove that the vehicle as sold contained a defect that created an unreasonable risk of death, personal injury, or property damage when the vehicle was put to its intended use and that the defect caused the loss for which the plaintiff is seeking to recover damages. The types of alleged vehicle defects that may be made the subject of an automotive products liability action include shortcomings in the design of the vehicle, mistakes made in the manufacture of its parts or in their assembly into a completed car or truck, and failure to warn the purchaser or operator of the vehicle about dangers inherent in its use and operation. Because products liability actions involve complex technical issues of science and engineering, expert witnesses are normally made use of by both sides in trying to either prove a case of liability or establish a defense.

Interaction of Collision and Comprehensive Coverage in Auto Insurance Policies

Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage in policies of motor vehicle insurance are interrelated with one another, as both types of coverage are intended to protect an owner or operator against loss resulting from damage to a covered vehicle itself rather than insuring against legal liability for personal injury or property damage suffered by others that results from operation of the covered vehicle.

Per-Occurrence Liability for Auto Insurance

An automobile insurance policy can limit liability to a certain dollar amount for each accident or occurrence of loss suffered by an insured. Generally, per accident and per occurrence mean the same thing. One occurrence is a single, uninterrupted cause that can result in one or a number of bodily injuries or property damage. For example, if an insured’s vehicle hits a car and that collision breaks the steering gear on the insured’s vehicle causing it to hit another car, then only one accident occurred within the meaning of the insurance policy limitation. Therefore, there can be multiple claims of injuries and damages that arise from one accident.

Tort Liability of Owners/Operators of Commercial Motor Vehicles

The potential tort liability of owners and operators of commercial motor vehicles implicates a number of unique legal issues. These range from some that are more obvious, such as the simple increase in the kinds and extent of risks of personal injury and property damage that arise from commercial vehicle use in contrast to the operation of private vehicles, the numbers of operators and numbers and types of vehicles involved in commercial activities, and the so-called “deep pockets” of business entities that make them more susceptible to having tort actions brought against them, to less immediately apparent matters such as the existence, in some jurisdictions, of a legal presumption, which would have to be affirmatively overcome by the persuasive evidence of a commercial vehicle owner, that the operator of a commercial vehicle is in fact the employee or agent of the owner at the time the vehicle is involved in an incident giving rise to potential tort liability.