Insurance Law, Pages 693–700

Allstate Insurance Co. v. Boynton

Supreme Court of Florida, 1986

Facts:

Boynton worked at Sears and was injured by a coworker by a car owned by Xerox. He sued Xerox, but it was not liable for its car being in the shop. He also sued Sears, but this was barred by Florida's worker compensation statue, which made that he sole remedy against his employer. He then sued his own insurance company, claiming that since nothing covered the vehicle for this incident, he was injured by an uninsured vehicle that he was "legally entitled to recover" against, as required by the policy.

Issue:

LexisNexis IconWestLaw LogoGoogle Scholar LogoPage 695
  1. Is a vehicle an uninsured vehicle when a policy of liability insurance covers it, but the policy does not provide coverage for the particular occurrence?
  2. Is the insured "legally entitled to recover" from the operator of an insured motor vehicle when there is a statutory bar to an action against the operator, but for which bar, recovery would lie?

Procedural History:

  • Trial court granted summary judgment to Allstate.

  • Fifth District reversed, holding that a vehicle is uninsured when a policy covers it but does not cover he particular occurrence and that an insured is entitled to recover when there is a statutory bar to action against the operator.

Reasoning:

  • Although there was a policy on the car, it did not really coverage this incident. Thus, it is not insured.

  • Boynton's policy still required him to be "legally entitled to recover" from the owner or operator of the uninsured vehicle. This only requires him to show fault and damages, but it also allows the insurer all available substantive defenses the tortfeasor could have raised.

    Here, worker's compensation is statutorily Boynton's sole remedy. Allstate can claim this as a defense on behalf of Sears, making Boynton not legally entitled to recover.

Rule/Holding:

Although a vehicle can be an uninsured vehicle while covered by an inapplicable policy, uninsured motorist coverage does not apply when recovery otherwise is statutorily barred.

Judgment:

Quashed and remanded.

Like my site?
Slightly less broke than the average law student?
Want to give me money for some reason?

I accept donations!

(Don't feel bad if you don't) (Not tax-deductible)