Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: S.D. an exception to "intentional injury exclusion"???

  1. #1
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    , ,
    Posts
    182

    Post imported post

    In Virginia do the courts hold that Homeowners Insurance policies cover Self Defense situations? That is do the courts hold that there is a S.D. exemption to the standard "intentional injury exclusion" clause of Homeowners insurance contracts?

    Apparently this is more of an issue of how the courts find rather than a question of insurance contracts themselves.

    The paragraph below is excerpted from http://insurancesolutionsdfw.com/lib...iesdefense.htm


    Homeowners liability policies contain a provision that excludes coverage for injury or damage caused intentionally by or at the direction of the insured, often referred to by the courts as the "intentional injury exclusion." The courts of various jurisdictions are equally split as to whether injuries committed in self-defense are intentional and expected and thereby excluded by the intentional injury exclusion in the homeowners liability policy

  2. #2
    Accomplished Advocate user's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northern Piedmont of Virginia
    Posts
    2,373

    Post imported post

    It is axiomatic that homeowners' insurance policies only cover negligence. Generally, when a person is sued for an intentional act, the insurance company will want to defend "under a reservation of right". That means they want to be able to come in and defend the insurance company's interests under the guise of "helping" the insured. (I've never seen the insured not get screwed in this process - if it happens to you, hire your own lawyer.)

    A negligence action requires proof of 1) duty; 2) negligent breach of duty; 3) actual damages; and 4) the negligent breach of duty was the proximate cause of the damages. Without proof of all four, there's no case.

    There is never a situation in which a person might have an occasion to defend himself negligently. Self defense is always intentional. If there is any basis for a suit at all, it will be for assault, battery, intentional infliction of severe emotional distress, or some other intentionally wrongful act. And it is not possible to turn an intentionally wrongful act into negligence.

    The thing is, that "pleading in the alternative" is allowed in Virginia, so one might have a count for battery, along with a count for negigence, in the same complaint for the same acts, on the theory that if he can't prove the one, maybe he can prove the other. If that happens, and the magic word, "negligence" appears in the complaint, then the insurance co. will step in and defend under a reservation of right. And the homeowner who fails to supply a copy of the complaint to the insurance co. right quick runs the risk of losing the coverage he's paying for.

    But what that means is that the insurance co. will not commit to covering the loss if there is one. And they don't have to if the act complained of is, in their opinion, intentional.

    I hope that's clearer than mud.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

  3. #3
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Chesterfield VA
    Posts
    10,682

    Post imported post

    An attorney who speaks plain English! Will wonders never cease?

    Thanks for the explanation, it was crystal clear. To rephrase - no matter what, my insurance company's first duty is to its stockholders, second to its ownbottom line, and coming in a distant third at best, to protect me from things I just could not prevent from happening anyhow. Get myself an attorney - probably one who used to work for an insurance company. Pray a lot. Decide who I would prefer paying, not how much.

    Think that covered it? How'd I do?

    stay safe.

    skidmark
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

  4. #4
    Accomplished Advocate user's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northern Piedmont of Virginia
    Posts
    2,373

    Post imported post

    That's pretty good. Pennies per share earned is what it's all about.

    Though I'm suspicious of attorneys who have any connection with insurance companies. I'm sure there are some who've recovered from, or never could tolerate, that contact. But insurance companies try to run legal procedure the same way they try to run medical procedure.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

  5. #5
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Fairfax Co., VA
    Posts
    18,766

    Post imported post

    Thanks for the info, User!
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  6. #6
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    , ,
    Posts
    182

    Post imported post

    Ummm???

    I think mud covers it. My understanding is that there is a complex legal argument that I don't understand.

    Obviously insurance companies do not ever want to cover anything. Collecting premiums - Yes. Paying claims - No.

    But, in general, in Virginia, in self defense cases do the courts allow the insurance companies to shirk this obligation, or require them to pay up?

    For example the Connecticut Supreme Court appears have just this year decided that self defense does NOT constitute an intentional act, and therefore is covered under liability policies. See bottom.

    Is there any comparable case law in Virginia? It would seem to my naive non-legal mind that this is a bit like a home-owner who causes water damage to his home while putting out a fire. Spraying the water is intentional, but the event in the entirety is not voluntary, but is in fact an accident as it were.

    The Connecticut Supreme Court, deciding an issue of first impression in that state, recently held that coverage for bodily injury to others inflicted during an incident of self-defense by an insured constitutes an “occurrence,” and is not excluded by an intentional injury exclusion in a liability policy. Vermont Mutual Insurance Company v. Walukiewicz et al, SC 18061 (Conn., March 17, 2009).
    Sorry for being obtuse.

  7. #7
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Chesterfield VA
    Posts
    10,682

    Post imported post

    Oh, my, goodness.

    In other words, the policyholder'sactions were designed and intended to defend himself against the actions of the other person as opposed to causing injury, andthus any injuries the other personreceived were the result of them starting it.

    I think this might fly in Virginia, based on rulings in either justifiable or excusable homicide defense cases. Wish I had access to my legal research tools over the weekend to be able to check on it.


    User - comments? Anyone else? Beuller?

    stay safe.

    skidmark

    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

  8. #8
    Accomplished Advocate user's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northern Piedmont of Virginia
    Posts
    2,373

    Post imported post

    Connecticut has a more liberal approach to consumer protection than does Virginia. And I'll repeat what's really a joke, but one of those, "it's not funny, it's sad", kind of jokes: Consider, in Virginia jurisprudence, the "employers, banks, and insurance companies rule"; the rules states that, if you are an employer (against an employee), a bank, or an insurance company, you win. Also consider that Virginia judges must be re-appointed by the legislature and are very keen to consider the views of the legislature. So the folks with the biggest lobbies in the General Assembly tend to get tender care in Virginia courts. You need to change the General Assembly, because that's a political problem.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

  9. #9
    spikemedic
    Guest

    Post imported post

    You probably one who used to work for an insurance company?



    ____________________
    Medical insurance

  10. #10
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    , ,
    Posts
    4

    Post imported post

    Self defense is not an injurious act. By the nature of the word defense, a person who is in defense of life is not liable in any way to compensate the person who instigated the situation.

    The only thing I would worry about (and it would be post-event) is whether or not I acted in accordance with the law in regard to self defense. I don't now, and never have worried about being sued by a corpse or his family. If an intruder enters my home, I fully intend to deal with the intrusion in a swift and deadly manner if that intruder threatens me.

    If it's self defense, then there is no liability. If it's not self defense, it's murder or manslaughter, or at the very least assault with intent to do bodily harm... kill or whatever. This is where we have to be very certain that we're acting in accordance with the law when we defend ourselves.

    I know I state the obvious, but sometimes that's what is required.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •