You Must Have Permission to Drive a Car If You want to be Covered by Insurance in Case of an Accident

If Nobody Tells You that You Can drive the Car, You may not be covered by insurance

When a silver Acura sedan ran through an intersection without stopping for a stop sign and struck another car with four passengers that was stopping, you would think that there would be no question that the injured victims would be entitled to collect insurance from the driver of the car running the stop sign.

However, in Pennsylvania National v. Drozdowski coverage was denied for the driver. Peter Sukeena was the father of Stephen Sukeena. A few days before this accident, Peter had loaned his son the Acura sedan. His son then drove to a friend’s house for a get together. The son allowed his friend Edward Drozdowski to use the car to buy some alcohol and cigarettes. While he was doing that, the accident occured.

The father didn’t know Drozdowski and testified that he told his son that letting other people drive the car was not permissible. Furthermore, the father did not know that his son was lending his car for others to drive.

The insurance company denied insurance coverage for the accident. The question was, could the insurance company deny coverage. Pennsylvania law does permit liability coverage under an insurance policy with a “non permissive user” if it can be established that it was “express or implied permission” to use the vehicle.

However, when looking at the policy language, the Court found the policy to be clear and unambiguous. Unless the evidence clearly showed that the driver had expressed or implied permission to use the vehicle from the owner, there would be no insurance coverage. Here, the evidence showed that and the denial of coverage was proper.

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