'Regular Use' Exclusion Provisions in Atlanta Insurance Policies Defined by the Court in Vann v. Mercury

Insurance Policy

We pay insurance premiums in order to have a safeguard if we are ever involved in a car accident. But, how many times do we hear of insurance companies trying to get away with not releasing benefits?

If you are involved in an Atlanta truck accident, it is important to know what benefits you are entitled to. It is important to have an experienced injury attorney advocating for you against the big insurance conglomerates. Our attorneys understand what it needs to get you the benefits you have paid for.

Vann v. Mercury is a truck accident case out of New Jersey. The case arose where the plaintiff, Richard Vann (plaintiff), was driving a truck for a company named Vann Trucking which was owned and operated by his father. Plaintiff was on his way to pick up a trailer to hitch to the truck. While the plaintiff was parked on a service road near Philadelphia, a train struck the truck. The plaintiff suffered injuries to his lower back, shoulders, neck and head.

At the time of this accident, plaintiff had an insurance policy with Mercury Indemnity Company (defendant) for his two personal vehicles. As part of plaintiff’s insurance policy with the defendant, he had coverage in the form of personal injury protection (PIP) and med-pay benefits. As the defendant points out, there were exclusions to the benefit payout.

Vann Trucking had a commercial insurance policy with National Independent Truckers Insurance Company (National). This commercial policy was for the truck being driven by the plaintiff. The problem arose because the commercial policy did not provide PIP or med-pay benefits.

In an attempt to seek additional benefits for medical care, plaintiff entered a claim with his personal insurer for med-pay benefits. This claim was rejected and the defendant cited that the “regular use” exclusion in the policy was applicable to the claim.

Most regular use clauses stipulate that the insurance company will pay medical expense benefits to an insured who suffers a bodily injury caused by an accident arising from the use, maintenance or ownership of an insured’s automobile. Additionally, the policy in this case adds that they will provide cooverage for medical benefits for the insured where the insured is using a vehicle not owned by him, and not normally used by the insured. Essentially, if the insured regularly uses the vehicle not owned or insured by him, and is involved in an accident, the med-pay coverage benefits are excluded and the insured cannot collect.

Basically, insurance companies want to protect themselves from having to pay out benefits to the insured where the insured is regularly using a vehicle that is not under the policy. The purpose of this is to encourage people to insure each vehicle they have regular access to. Under this policy with the exclusion provision, the insurance company will only extend benefits where the insured is injured in a vehicle on the policy or where the accident occurred in a vehicle that the insured is infrequently driving.

Because the truck the plaintiff was in when he sustained the injuries was regularly and customarily used by the plaintiff, the insurance company would not extend med-pay benefits.

The court agreed with the insurance company because case precedent on this issue has found that exclusionary clauses like the one at issue here, apply to cases where the insured is using another vehicle for work.

Thus the plaintiff in this case could not collect med-pay benefits. Summary judgment was entered on behalf of the insurance company.

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