From your perspective – not mineMarch 30, 2011

State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v Langan, 2011 NY Slip Op 02437 (2011)

It is Langan again.  That bad dream that does not go away.  Well this time, the Court of Appeals held that for both lines of first-party automobile coverage, PIP and UM/SUM/UIM, an intentional act should be looked at through the viewpoint of the injured person.  If you remember, the Second Department limited that holding to PIP coverage.  It is an interesting opinion.

8 Responses

  1. Mitchell S. Lustig says:

    Langan is very interestin, becaue the Court of Appeals added a footnote indicating that its ruling was only based upon the decedent’s own policy. I had read the Appellate Division decision in Langan as holding that any innocent occupant of a vehicle or pedestrain was entitled to no-fault benefits. When the Appellate Division stated in Langan that you have to look at the accident from the point of view of the insured, I understood the word insured to be mean any eligible EIP under the PIP Endorsement. I still think that is the intent of Langan but I am curious why the Court added that footnote and did not definitively state that the decedent in Lanagan could have received benefits under the policy of the striking vehicle, not only his own policy. Something to ponder.

  2. Larry Rogak says:

    So according to this decision, if I intentionally run you down with my car, it is an accident from your point of view.

    However, if I run up to you and intentionally hit you with a baseball bat, that is not an accident from your point of view.

    This makes no sense, even though it does give innocent victims of vehicular assaults a source of compensation.

  3. mitchell s. lustig says:

    It should be noted that in footnote 1 of its opinion in Langan, the Court of Appeals noted that its decision to award no-fault benefits to the decedent was only confined to an interpreation of the decedent’s own policy, not the policy of either the driver or vehicle that intentionally struck Langan while he was crossing the street. Plaintiff’s had read the decision of the Apellate Divison, Second Department in Langan as standing for the broad proposition that any innocent third party, not an active participant in the intentional act, whether an occupant of the vehicle or a pedestrian struck by the vehicle, was entitled to no-fault benefits. In other words, when the Appellate Division in Langan stated that we must look at the accident from the point of view of the “insured”, many argued that the Appellate Divison was, in effect, equating the word “insured” with any eligbile insured person under the policy, including occupants of the vehicle or pedestrians who did not have their own policies. I also concurred with that interpretion. Yet, in footnote 1 of its Opinion, the Court of Appeals went out of its way to state that its decision was only confined to the decedent’s own policy, perhaps suggesting that if the decedent did not have his own policy, he would not be able to collect no-fault benefits under the policy of the strking vehicle. Food for thought.

  4. mitchell lustig says:

    Larry, like it or not that was the intent of Langan. However, footnote 1 in the opinion does raise an interesting point as to how broadly Langan should be stretched.

  5. Kurt Lundgren says:

    The decision certainly does broaden the term “accident”.

    An insurance carrier must pay the doctor’s bills on a claim where the insured paid his premium, who was an innocent victim of a motor vehicle assault, and who died for his troubles. Imagine that. One would suppose that from the insured’s perspective he meant to get hit by that car!

    Mitch, I think you are right on with your insights regarding the Footnote. I just hope that you didnt give Larry Rogak any ideas about using baseball bats. I dont think PIP covers that.

  6. Raymond Zuppa says:

    People are literally dying for some insurance benefits in this state.

    Why do you purchase insurance — in the case of No Fault because you have to; another government give away to corporations. But really.

    You buy insurance for peace of mind. In this case the decedent had the ultimate peace of mind. Not a single worry. He’s dead. So what’s the beef about some money. The insurance company delivered the peace of mind.

  7. Raymond J. Zuppa says:

    “Lanagan” — it sounds like a Clint Eastwood or John Wayne movie.

    I could see the story synopsis — “Lanagan was a maverick cop who did things his own way until he was run down on a sidewalk by a negligent State Farm insured.”

    Or if Lanagan hit the guy who died: “Lanagan was a maverick cop who did things his own way — and that includes negligently running down a pedestrian on a sidewalk.”

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