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Insurance Coverage Ambiguity Cases By Accident Attorney

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Insurance Coverage Ambiguity and the related topic of personal injury.  For more information on insurance coverage see the pages on Wikipedia. 

Insurance Coverage Ambiguity-Cases

2000 Lower Chesapeake Assocs. v. Valley Forge Ins. Co., 260 Va. 77, 532 S.E.2d 325. 

Portion of dock collapsed during wind storm. Owner entitled to insurance coverage under commercial property insurance policy for damage caused by weather. In drafting exclusions in policies, insurer is required to use language that is clear and unambiguous. Coverage language was found to be ambiguous and exclusions were found not to be applicable. 

1991 Smith v. Allstate Ins. Co., 241 Va. 477, 403 S.E.2d 696. 

Exclusionary clause in insurance policy was ambiguous and as such coverage was found. Language is ambiguous when it may be understood in more than one way or when it refers to two or more things at same time. It is sufficient that fair and well reasoned arguments may be made for two or more tenable constructions of its language and that fact alone meets test for ambiguity. 

1989 American Reliance Ins. Co. v. Mitchell, 238 Va. 543, 385 S.E.2d 583. 

Exclusions in policy will be construed most strongly against insurer. It is incumbent on insurer to use exclusionary language that is clear and unambiguous. Language is ambiguous when it may be understood in more than one way. “Employee” was not defined in policy, therefore found ambiguous since it may refer to casual help or full-time help. “Loaned vehicle” also ambiguous since it was not defined and could connote formal bailment or loose informal arrangement. These exclusionary terms will be construed against insurer, since they are ambiguous. 

1989 Hunt v. Erie Ins. Group, 238 Va. 74, 380 S.E.2d 631. 

Applying Pennsylvania law, Supreme Court said that contract of insurance is ambiguous if it is susceptible of two meanings. 

1989 CUNA Mut. Ins. v. Norman, 237 Va. 33, 375 S.E.2d 724. 

Ambiguous language in policy must be interpreted most strongly against scrivener. In this case, issue was what was meaning of “livelihood.” 

1987 Blue Cross of S.W. Va. v. McDevitt & St. Co., 234 Va. 191, 360 S.E.2d 825. 

When contract language as whole supports two antithetical interpretations then it will be construed against draftsman. In this case, construction contract which waived rights of recovery by one party against another for property damage was upheld as waiver. 

1981 Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. Wenger, 222 Va. 263, 278 S.E.2d 874. 

Unambiguous exclusion in contractor’s comprehensive general liability policy precluded damages to poultry houses that collapsed under weight of snow and ice. Fact that policy has been interpreted in different manners in different jurisdictions does not create insurance coverage ambiguity that must be construed against insurer. 

1975 White v. Blue Cross, 215 Va. 601, 212 S.E.2d 64. 

Insurance coverage ambiguity.When insurance policy is susceptible to two constructions, one of which will effectuate coverage and other will not, construction which will effectuate coverage is adopted. 

1960 Fidelity & Cas. Co. v. Fratarcangelo, 201 Va. 672, 112 S.E.2d 892. 

Declaratory judgment action. Claims made against insured for negligent installation of stove. Insurance coverage ambiguity interpreted in favor of insured in regards to interpretation of “operation on or off premises.” 

1949 State Farm Mut. v. Arghyris, 189 Va. 913, 55 S.E.2d 16. 

Insurance coverage ambiguity.Court cannot read into policy stipulation it does not contain, nor can we give it construction plainly in conflict with its expressed purpose.


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Insurance Coverage Ambiguity Cases By Accident Attorney

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