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Family wins suit against insurer

A driver who led police on a high-speed chase in 1999, smashing into a family car and badly injuring a young boy near San Marcos, did not void his insurance policy by acting in a dangerous manner, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Nationwide Insurance had claimed that it did not have to pay the accident victims because its customer, Richard Gibbons, violated the policy by engaging in a reckless and prolonged chase all but guaranteeed to end in a horrific accident.

Practical Tip

You should be aware that often, if your medical bills were paid by health insurance of an employer’s health plan, the insurance company or plan may want you to reimburse it out of any personal injury recovery. Your “insurance” turns out to be not insurance at all, but a “loan.”

Andrew Traub

In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court correctly ruled that Gibbons would have voided his policy only if he intentionally hit the car.  The evidence showed he tried to avoid the collision which left a 7-year-old boy comatose for a week, in the hospital for a month, and in physical therapy for five years.

Justice Willett, writing for the majority, pointed out that Nationwide’s position would jeopardize insurance coverage for common accidents, such as when a driver intentionally runs a red light or speeds to save time.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Texas, please call our office at (512) 343-2572.

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