Exception to UM Exclusion for Accidents With Off-Road Vehicles

Posted on: July 10th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A couple injured in a PA car accident with a dirt bike were permitted to make a Pennsylvania uninsured motorist claim as a result of a 2008 ruling of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.  They were in their automobile on a public road when a dirt bike came out from a private driveway causing the crash.  Their Pennsylvania uninsured motorist lawyer made a PA UM claim against Erie, their car insurance company.

Even though the dirt bike was unregistered and uninsured, Erie’s attorney argued that an exclusion in the policy prevented the victims from receiving the Pennsylvania uninsured motorist benefits for which they paid.  The trial judge agreed with the insurance carrier and denied their PA uninsured motorist claim.

However, their Pennsylvania uninsured motorist attorney challenged this decision and filed an appeal to the PA Superior Court.  Since the collision occurred on a public road, Erie’s exclusion for accidents with off-road vehicles violated the PA Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act.  The Appeals Court ruled that the Pennsylvania uninsured motorist victims were entitled to receive their UM benefits.  Burdick v. Erie Insur. Group, 946 A.2d 1106 (Pa. Super. 2008)