At-fault and insurer avoid paying injury compensation because son became untitled "owner"
Matthew Lanter was badly hurt when he was rear-ended by a semi in Flint. Lanter's car had become disabled on the highway. His mother had turned the car over to him days before, with the understanding that he would the insurance and repair it, however, he had not yet bought coverage. His mother was still the titled owner, but the insurer for the semi operator argued that Lanter could not sue the driver who rear-ended him because Lanter was now an "owner" of an uninsured vehicle.
The trial court agreed with the insurer and granted summary disposition of Lanter's claim. The Court of Appeals agreed, even though Lanter wasn't on the title or registration of the car. Three insurance activist judges ruled that since Lanter "would have had" use of the vehicle for 30 days, eventually, he was already an "owner" of the car by statute and therefore completely disqualified from collecting any damage recovery for his injuries.