Compassionate Legal Care…
Proven Results


Know Your Rights On The Road When Driving A Work Vehicle In PA

PA Supreme Court Case

Anyone who drives a work vehicle for their job, that may include police officers, detectives, fire fighters, and over-the-road truck drivers, should be aware of the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Rush vs. Erie Insurance Exchange, 308 A. 3d 780, so that they can protect their rights if they are in motor vehicle accident.

PA Supreme Court Case Ruling & What This Means

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently, in Rush vs. Erie Insurance Exchange, 308 A.3d 780 (Jan 29, 2024), held that a detective, who sustained serious bodily injury following the motor vehicle accident, was barred from collecting any underinsured motorist coverage under his or her own motor vehicle insurance policy, due to the “regular use” exclusion contained in his personal auto policy. What this means is that if you are driving a work vehicle, you may not have sufficient coverage to protect you if you are involved in an accident. This is especially a problem if you sustain serious and permanent injuries and the party “at fault” does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to adequately compensate you.

Uninsured / Underinsured Coverage

By state law, everyone has to have personal auto insurance coverage, if they drive a vehicle. In purchasing liability insurance you have the right to get uninsured/underinsured additional coverage to help compensate you adequately if someone else causes an accident while in their own vehicle, and the other person at fault does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance coverage. The uninsured/underinsured first party benefits part of your policy is to offset any deficiencies and provide additional coverage so that you can be compensated when the at-fault party doesn’t have enough insurance and you are seriously injured.

What the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did, in Rush vs. Erie Insurance Exchange, was reiterate the existing case law and upheld the enforceability of the “regular use” exclusion that Erie places in it’s insurance policies.

At first glance, this appears not to be a major problem, however most people who are driving work vehicles are not informed that their vehicle may not have insurance to adequately protect them if they are in a wreck caused by someone else.

I recently represented a truck driver who met this unfortunate fate, where through no fault of his own, another vehicle crashed in to his truck causing him serious injuries. His employer did not have underinsured coverage for him. Many people driving work vehicles are not aware that their corporate employer may not provide uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to the driver of the work vehicle. Asa result, many people are lawfully driving their work vehicles, totally unaware that they may be financially exposed if someone else at fault wrecks into their work vehicle and does not have insurance or does not have adequate insurance to fully compensate them for their injury.

For that reason, it is extremely important that, if you drive a work vehicle, you check with your employer and your corporation to make sure that there is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on the work vehicle, covering you if you are hit by somebody else, and you suffer serious injuries. If your employer or the corporation does not provide uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then you should speak with your personal insurance carrier to see if you can obtain additional coverage or to make sure that your personal policy can cover it and you’re not barred by the “regular use” exclusion, like in the case of Rush v. Erie.

Typically, the cost to obtain uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is minimal, compared to the overall premiums for insurance. Even if you have your own vehicle, and you’re not driving a work vehicle, it is very important that you speak with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate personal uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Based on my experience, in representing people who have been seriously injured, the last thing I want to advise them is that their recovery is limited due to insufficient insurance coverage. It is heartbreaking and terrible to see someone have to suffer through a long physical recovery and additionally have to suffer the loss of a job, declare bankruptcy and suffer financially, not to mention endure physical trauma, pain and suffering that accompanies a serious accident.

If you are in need of legal representation, please feel free to call our office at (724) 834-5500. We are here to help!

Attorney Joe Massaro

Call Us