In an accident such as this, it is not immediately apparent who you can make a claim against. Because the wooden cribbing clearly does not have its own source of insurance, our attorney C. William Kenny (Bill Kenny), believed he could be successful at making a claim through the injured party’s uninsured motorist benefits. These benefits are an elective type of coverage that an individual may choose to have on their policy. Uninsured motorist benefits are used when the party at fault in an accident has no insurance. These benefits ensure that the victim can still make a recovery for the damages they sustained. Attorney Kenny saw the wooden cribbing as the uninsured event; however, his client’s insurance company did not.
According to the Third Circuit Court, debris deposited by a vehicle that causes an accident is an uninsured event. Attorney Kenny believed that the wooden cribbing was in fact deposited by a tractor-trailer at an earlier time.
His reasoning was the following:
· The accident occurred on an interstate highway, with limited access
· Exits were 1-2 miles away from the site of the accident
· The cribbing itself is vehicle related
· Marcellus Shale trucks travel this interstate frequently, with cribbing on them
· There was no construction site near the site of the accident.
Attorney Kenny argued that based on the circumstantial evidence, the legal doctrine of, res ipsa loquitur would apply to this case. Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase for “the thing itself speaks.” Also meaning, the findings in this case can speak for itself.
Attorney Kenny’s clients’ claims were initially denied. The claimants’ own insurance company then filed a declaratory judgment action asking the court to rule that they did not have to pay the uninsured motorists coverage under the client’s own insurance policy.
The court agreed with Attorney Kenny’s analysis and the client recovered uninsured motorists benefits under their insurance policy.
Although a lot of case law ran contrary to Attorney Kenny’s position, his experience and dedication helped him recognize this type of claim. At Berger and Green, our attorneys are not afraid to take on a case that is not clear cut. They fight for their clients, making sure they are treated fairly by the civil justice system.