State Farm has made a unique legal argument to avoid paying a claim by a man who was struck by a car while riding his motorized scooter. Specifically, State Farm claims that a motorized scooter is a vehicle and, as such, the people who use them should be required to obtain car insurance. The fact that State Farm does not provide such insurance does not seem to bother the company.
This case involves a paralyzed man who uses a motorized scooter for transportation. As he was traveling to a doughnut shop, he was hit by a SUV. State Farm, which insured the driver of the SUV, claims that it does not need to pay for his medical bills. State Farm claims that the man’s motorized scooter is a vehicle and, thus, he should have had his own automobile insurance for the scooter. Since he was “uninsured”, State Farm claims they have no obligation to pay for his damages. State Farm’s lawyers seem to have failed to notice that auto insurers in Michigan, where this case occurred, do not offer auto insurance for motorized scooters.
State Farm’s argument is being closely watched by the insurance industry. Motorized scooter accidents are not uncommon. Recently, a 48-year old woman was killed while riding a scooter and trying to cross the street. In addition, a 70-year old Texas man was killed when his scooter was struck by a driver pulling out of a parking lot. If the judge agrees with State Farm’s logic, auto insurers will be able to collect additional premiums in the form of new “scooter” insurance while also denying claims from injured scooter riders who do not obtain such coverage.
We have previously written about State Farm’s history of denying claims. It appears that State Farm is continuing its pattern of denying claims. This time it is through it using perverse logic to deny assistance to a man who clearly needs help and would clearly be entitled to it if he had simply been walking on the road.