Schedule a Consultation | Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Trial lawyers specializing in personal injury and civil litigation

What qualifies as a "land motor vehicle" under your no fault policy?

Gabe Medel's neighbor pulled out into the road in front of Gabe on his lawnmower.  Gabe had to swerve to avoid the neighbor and struck a tree.  Gabe was killed on impact.  His widow attempted to collect insurance under Gabe's Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

        The Court concluded that the lawn mower was an underinsured "land motor vehicle" as defined in the policy, because the use of the word "land" implied a vehicle that could be operated off-roads.  On that basis, the lawn mower was more like a tractor or moped (as in the Trierwiler and Stark decisions, respectively) and less like the forklift, which was held not to be a "motor vehicle" in the Stanton case.  Nevertheless, the widow was denied UIM coverage, because the policy also required that the "land motor vehicle" be one that is uninsured or underinsured as "required by the applicable law". 

        There are no legal requirements for insuring lawn mowers---meaning that the insurance carrier never intended to provide UM or UIM coverage under these circumstances.  We feel bad for the widow, but frankly, we can't fault the court's logic in reaching this conclusion.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262