In the case of Estate of Robert Curtis, Sr., by its Personal Representative, Theresa Brade v. GEICO General Insurance Company, Drake Matovich and Robert Curtis were involved in a fight in a grocery store parking lot. Curtis was severely injured and would die as a result of the fight. Matovich and Curtis’ estate entered into an agreed judgment where Matovich admitted liability and assigned his claims against his auto insurance provider, GEICO, to Curtis. GEICO filed a declaratory judgment action seeking declaration that the fight was not covered under GEICO’s insurance policy because Matovich was not using his insured car at the time of the accident. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of GEICO.
In the auto insurance policy, it said that GEICO was obligated to pay for damages “arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the owned auto.” The Indiana Supreme Court has interpreted the phrase “ownership, maintenance, and use” of a vehicle in context of insurance policies to mean “being caused by use of” the vehicle. The use of the vehicle has to be directly correlated to the accident.
In this situation, the Indiana Supreme Court determined that when Matovich exited his vehicle to confront Curtis, he engaged in a physical confrontation with the other man. This meant that he no longer had any active relationship to the vehicle at the time. The Court determined that this was just a fight between two men not involving any vehicles and it cannot be covered by an auto insurance policy for just being near the vehicle. The Indiana Supreme Court held that the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of GEICO.
If you or a loved one have been affected by an accident or death, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Hurst Limontes, LLC. We have decades of combined experience fighting for our clients in any number of personal injury claims. Call 317-636-0808 or email us for a FREE and confidential consultation.