Insurance Company Liable for Fight at Home

In the recent case of Erie Insurance v. Moore, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that an insurance company had a duty to defend and pay damages following a fight involving a gun at Terry McCutcheon’s home.  In this case, Terry McCutcheon had left the home of her boyfriend, Richard Carly, and returned to her home.  When she got home, she telephoned Richard to let him know that she arrived safely, but her call was disconnected because Terry’s ex-husband had broken into her home.  Richard drove to Terry’s home because he was concerned about her safety and found that she had been shot by her ex-husband, who still had the gun.  The ex-husband confronted Richard and they struggled for the gun.  In the struggle, Richard was shot.  Richard filed a lawsuit due to his injuries, and sought coverage under an Erie Insurance policy that covered the ex-husband.

Most insurance policies contain an exclusion that injuries from criminal or intentional acts are not covered.  Erie Insurance claimed that there was no insurance coverage because the injuries to Richard were inflicted intentionally (rather than accidentally).

The Superior Court stated that the language of an insurance policy is to be liberally construed in favor of the insured.  The Court held that in this case the injuries were the result of a struggle for the gun, rather than through an intentional act on the part of the ex-husband.  Therefore, Erie Insurance had a duty to defend the ex-husband and provide coverage for Richard’s injuries.

The attorneys at Supinka & Supinka, PC, are experienced in handling all types of injury claims.  For more information and a consultation, please call (724) 349-6768.

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