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Heinz Obtains Summary Judgment for Insurance Company on Uninsured Motorist Claim



Attorney Ben Heinz recently obtained a summary judgment on an uninsured motorist claim for one of the firm’s insurance clients. 


Facts of the Case

  • The plaintiff had asserted an uninsured motorist claim against the insurer based upon the wantonness of the driver of a vehicle in which the plaintiff was a passenger. 

  • The plaintiff claimed he qualified as an insured under the subject policy. 

  • The subject policy had been issued to the plaintiff’s father-in-law as the named insured. 

  • One of the vehicles covered by the subject policy had been driven by the plaintiff’s wife since she was a teenager. 

  • Even though the plaintiff’s wife had moved out of her mother and father’s home many years before the accident, her father had maintained ownership of the vehicle and thus continued to have the vehicle covered under his policy. 

  • The plaintiff claimed he was entitled to coverage under the policy because he was related by marriage to a named insured even though he admitted that he had never lived with his father-in-law.

  • Instead, the plaintiff claimed his wife was a “named insured” because the proof of insurance card for his wife’s vehicle had his wife’s name listed in the category for “name of insured.” 


Heinz demonstrated that the plaintiff’s argument lacked any merit as the declarations page of the subject policy listed only the father-in-law as a named insured and because Alabama courts had consistently strictly enforced the identification of a “named insured” in insurance policies. Heinz also pointed out that no court had ever so broadly interpreted a proof of insurance card such that the phrase “name of insured” on a proof of insurance card was considered the equivalent of the identification of a named insured on a declarations page.


The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the insurance company based on the fact that no coverage existed under the subject policy for the plaintiff as a result of the accident at issue.


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