Although contract interpretation may not seem relevant in personal injury claims, contracts often come into play, particularly in Georgia car accident cases. In a recent case, a court considered the language of an insurance contract in determining whether a car crash was covered under the policy.
In that case, an auction company was conducting an automobile auction when one of its employees struck audience members with a car. The employee said that the car’s accelerator stuck, which caused him to lose control of the car. The car was owned by a charitable organization, and the auction company argued that the claims against it were covered by the defendant’s insurance policy as the charitable organization’s insurer. The defendant claimed the incident was not covered, and the auction company brought a claim against the insurer.
The court looked at the insurance company’s contract to determine whether the auction company was insured under the policy. The policy listed the named insured as the charitable organization and its business as “used auto dealer.” The car was covered for the purposes of the policy. The policy stated that for covered vehicles, the insurer would pay all sums the “insured” was legally required to pay because of bodily injury or property damage, caused by an accident resulting from “garage operations.” The policy defined “insured” as: the organization for any covered vehicle, and anyone else using a covered vehicle the organization owned, hired, or borrowed, with the organization’s permission, except if someone was selling, servicing, repairing, parking, or storing vehicles, unless it was part of the organization’s “garage operations.”