Woman dragged next to stolen car entitled to insurance coverage

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A woman who was injured after being dragged beside her car as she tried to prevent it from being robbed is entitled to insurance coverage, the Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled.

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In an October 18 ruling, three Alberta judges upheld Judge Rosemary Nation’s ruling that Economical Mutual Insurance Company must provide coverage to Teresa D’Andrea for injuries she suffered in the incident. .

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According to the ruling, when D’Andrea saw someone trying to steal her car, she sprinted towards the vehicle and leaned out of the open window of the driver’s side door, yelling at the thief to “get out of the vehicle.”

The thief veered into the street and accelerated, while D’Andrea clung to the door and was dragged approximately 40 feet, until the thief accelerated further, “causing her to fall and land on her face and his right leg”.

Economical had argued that D’Andrea was not eligible for coverage because she was an “occupant” of the car; its policy states that an occupant is a “person driving, being carried in or on or entering or getting into or alighting from an automobile”, with a provision that coverage will be denied to occupants of a vehicle operated without the consent of their owner. owner.

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But Nation ruled that being dragged alongside a car did not make a person an occupant of that car, a decision the appeals judges agreed with.

The call also confirmed Nation’s finding that D’Andrea was hit by the car as it accelerated and dragged it a short distance. The insurance policy requires a person to have been struck by a vehicle while not an occupant of that vehicle to qualify for coverage.

“The trial judge found that the respondent was merely trying to get the thief’s attention to prevent him from taking the car and did not intend to ‘get in’ the car when it was under the control of an unknown third party,” reads the appeal decision.

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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