Summary Judgment Granted in Uninsured Motorist Case

July 22, 2011

Brian Candela Argues Motorcycle Not a "Vehicle" as Defined in Policy

RRD associate Brian Candela won summary judgment on July 18, 2011 in connection with an uninsured motorist claim brought against his client as the result of an unusual motor vehicle accident.

The plaintiff was the driver of a van that was rear-ended by the operator of a 2007 Honda CR85R off road motorcycle. The plaintiff claimed that the operator of the off road motorcycle failed to stop for a stop sign and struck the rear of his van. The operator of the motorcycle was killed in the accident. Following the collision, the plaintiff exited his van and was assaulted by a group of people who knew the operator of the off road motorcycle. As a result of the motor vehicle accident and the assault, the plaintiff claimed head trauma, memory loss, headaches, traumatic brain injury, problems with peripheral vision and other assorted injuries.

The plaintiff sought uninsured motorist benefits from his employer's automobile insurer, which denied the claim. Brian argued in his summary judgment motion that the off road motorcycle did not meet the definition of an uninsured "vehicle" as defined in the policy. The motion was supported by the affidavit of an accident reconstruction expert, who opined that the off road motorcycle was not a motor vehicle that was suitable for operation on public highways.

The court agreed, granting summary judgment after oral argument.