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An action was filed seeking declaratory judgment


An action was filed seeking declaratory judgment. The plaintiffs, who are the insured and one of their insurers, seek an adjudication that another insurer, is obliged to defend a certain action for personal injuries based upon the alleged negligence of one of the plaintiffs. The personal injury action was filed by workers who were injured as a result of a truck accident. According to sources, the motor truck involved in the accident had been leased. The truck was covered by a liability policy.

The policy not only protected the named insured, the owner of the truck, but also any person or organization legally responsible for the use of the subject truck. The policy, however, does not protect the named insured if the accident occurs while the automobile is not being used exclusively in the business of the Named Insured and over a route the Named Insured is authorized to serve by federal or public authority.

The plaintiffs contended that at the time of the truck accident the truck was operated in the business of the named insured and that therefore the policy applies to the pending personal injury suit. The insurer, on the other hand, asserted that the named insured did not operate the truck exclusively in his own business at the time of the accident and that therefore there is no coverage here.

The court found the situation anomalous. It pointed out that, if the named insured operated the truck exclusively in his own business then under common law principles, the plaintiffs would not be held liable in the personal injury action pending against them. One the other hand, if the named insured did not operate the truck exclusively in his own business when the alleged accident occurred the policy would seem to be inapplicable. According to the court, liability of the plaintiffs depends upon their relationship to the name insured at the time of the accident. It may not be assumed or considered that the insurance company is adequately informed about the relationship between the plaintiffs and named insured and concerning the conditions under which, and the agreement by which, the truck was operated on the day of the accident, the court pointed out. Therefore, the facts which would reveal whether the policy issued by the insurance company covers the case can be properly evaluated only at a plenary trial, the court concluded.

Although the plaintiffs insist that the named insured was an independent contractor operating exclusively in his own behalf, the court said there are no facts from which this allegation may be determined. The leasing agreement between the plaintiffs and the named insured does not indicate whether the named insured was to act exclusively for the plaintiffs, and the agreement itself was over a year old at the time of the accident, the court noted. Courts in the Bronx and Brooklyn would handle a case like this in a similar way.

It is difficult to sustain injuries, lose one’s earning capacity, and be involved in a lawsuit arising from such. There are New York Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys who will stand by you and help see you through your case. These Attorneys can argue your side and make sure that you and your loved ones are compensated.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its NY Personal Injury Lawyers, has convenient offices throughout the New York Metropolitan area including Corona, NY. Our Attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through situations where an injury resulted because of another’s negligence. Without our Attorneys, you may lose your rights which may cost you a significant amount of money.

In addition to Injury Law, Stephen Bilkis and Associates will recommend Wrongful Death Lawyers who will help you.

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