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Auto-Owners loses action intended to hold other insurers liable for car accident

Auto-Owners Insurance Company sued the Auto Club and State Farm to contribute to PIP expenses arising out of injuries suffered by two motorcyclists in a multiple vehicle collision.  When bikers are hurt in a collision involving an auto, they collect PIP benefits from the insurers of the vehicle "involved."   Normally, there is physical contact between vehicles or riders, but that is not a requirement.  In this case, Auto-Owners argued that the abrupt stop made by one vehicle caused a chain reaction that resulted in the injuries.   On that basis, it sued the insurers of other vehicles "involved" in the incident, including the vehicle that allegedly made the abrupt stop.

The trial judge ruled that it was a disputed issue of fact whether the stopping vehicle was a "cause" of the collision.  If it was operated entirely within the "rules of the road" it was not "involved" or a cause of the collision; if it stopped abruptly, and unreasonably, then it was a cause of the injuries.  The Jury  held that the car was not involved and Auto-Owners appealed this outcome.  The Court of Appeals rejected Auto-Owners' appeal, concluding that allowing the verdict to stand, given the conflicting evidence, would not result in a miscarriage of justice.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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