Bradshaw & Bryant PLLC Trial Lawyers
September 1, 2011
Supreme Court: Willmar man killed while delivering library books deserves coverage under Minnesota’s No Fault law
Court says Minnesota insurance companies cannot deny Uninsured Motorist coverage to drivers using cars for business purposes
(St. Cloud, MN) In a decision announced this week, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the estate for a Willmar man who was killed in a car accident while delivering library books should be able to benefit from an Underinsured Motorist provision in his insurance policy even though the policy contained a “work exclusion” provision.
Mike Bryant, a personal injury attorney handling the suit brought by the stepfather of the deceased driver’s estate, said “insurance companies selling Underinsured Motorist insurance in Minnesota have been getting away with worker’s exclusion clauses for a long time. This case was a perfect opportunity for the court to interpret Minnesota’s No Fault insurance law the way the legislature intended it.”
The Supreme Court decision held that an insurance policy provision excluding underinsured motorist coverage for accidents occurring while using an automobile to carry persons or property "for compensation or a fee" is not ambiguous; and, an insurance policy provision excluding underinsured motorist coverage for accidents occurring while using an automobile to carry persons or property "for compensation or a fee" is unenforceable under the Minnesota No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act.
Prior to the Supreme Court taking the case the insurance company’s involved had been granted summary judgment by the District Court and later the court of appeals affirmed that decision. But Bryant says he was still confident. “Minnesota’s No Fault law is clear that no insurance company can write more restrictive policies than the No Fault statute. Yet, that is exactly what they are doing.”
Bryant said the case is likely to have a profound impact for insurance companies and employees of businesses that use personal vehicles for delivery services. “A company like Domino’s Pizza requires their delivery employees to use their own vehicles and have their own insurance. You have to believe that most of those drivers aren’t even aware that they are forfeiting part of their insurance coverage because they are using an automobile to carry persons or property "for compensation or a fee,” Bryant said.
Bradshaw & Bryant is a personal injury law firm with offices in Wait Park and Golden Valley serving clients in Central Minnesota and the Twin Cities greater metropolitan area.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.