Auto Accidents Newsletters
Insurance contracts, at their core, are papers that prove a promise by an insurance company to pay benefits under an insurance policy and the payment of money by an insured for that protection. The money paid by the insured is called a premium. The premium is made up of money paid by the insured to the insurance company to cover the insured risk and the administrative costs. Without the payment of a premium, no contract of insurance exists between the insurance company and the insured.
Motor vehicles, by the nature of their mobility, freely move among the states. Accidents can occur in an insured's home state or another state. The laws of the states can differ on how they interpret the terms of an insurance policy. Which law should be applied is the subject of rules for conflict-of-laws or choice-of-laws decisions.
Drunk driving or driving while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance is illegal. Public policy does not permit a criminal to profit from a criminal act. Commonly, insurance companies include a clause in their automobile insurance policies that prohibit an insured from receiving damages for bodily injuries or death that occurred in an automobile accident caused by drunk driving. A drunk driving exclusion can be a separate clause in the policy or drunk driving could be excluded under the policy's crime exclusion.
When an insured has suffered a loss and wants to prove coverage under an automobile insurance policy, the insured must show the issuance and delivery of the policy, payment of the premium, a loss caused by a risk insured against, and notice and proof of loss to the insurance company. The proof of loss must give the insurance company adequate data from which it can determine its liability under the policy. The proof of loss must be in writing and set forth the injuries or damage sustained. A valuation of the loss should also be provided.
Passengers injured in automobile accidents have a right to recover compensation for their losses. It does not matter whether the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was riding or the driver of another vehicle was at fault for the accident. In fact, a number of automobile insurance policies may be available to compensate an injured passenger. Of course, under some insurance policies, the passenger may be an excluded person. For instance, an automobile insurance policy with a passenger for consideration exclusion clause would not cover the passenger, who routinely paid the driver to take the passenger on errands or to an airport.