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Intentional Harm

What happens when a driver causes intentional harm to themselves or others? Are the injured people eligible to file a personal injury claim? Does insurance cover property damage from an intentional criminal act? Is the at-fault driver eligible for coverage under their insurance? In this article, we take a look at how damage and injuries are handled when a driver causes intentional harm.

car crash totaled car

Driver Lands On Roof Of House

In Mifflin County, a driver wanted to hurt himself. He drove his car off the road toward a house. While he intended to hit the house, the car hit a mound and went flying onto the second floor. No one was hurt in this situation, but it did cause a lot of property damage. This kind of situation is becoming more common.

Who covers the damage? It’s an important question because there was serious damage to the house in this story. Since the driver hit the house intentionally, the driver’s insurance will likely refuse to cover the cost of the repairs. The homeowner will have to rely on their own insurance to cover the repairs.

What About The Driver?

What if a driver intends to hurt themselves? In the situation above, no one was hurt. But, if the driver had been hurt would insurance cover medical expenses? The short answer is no. This driver wanted to cause intentional harm – to himself and possibly others.

The driver wanted to hurt themselves by driving the car into the house. If this driver had been hurt, insurance would deny the claim. Insurance will deny coverage for the damage to the car too.

file an injury claim on behalf of someone else

People Hurt By Intentional Acts Of A Driver

This is where it gets tough. When a driver intends to cause harm, their insurance does not cover “intentional acts of the insured.” This means insurance will not cover the intentional harm or property damage caused by the driver. This may leave injured people without a means of financial recovery.

But, the injured people may be covered under their own insurance. For example, if a driver intentionally hits a person, that person might have coverage under their own car insurance (because the injury is vehicle-related). This would include personal injury (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured coverage.

Intentional Harm Or Negligence?

It’s important to note that intentional harm is different than negligence. Negligence, while preventable, is not considered an intentional act to cause harm. Driver negligence happens when the driver makes an error that causes or contributes to the cause of a crash. With negligence, the driver does not willfully intend to hurt themselves or others.

Property Damage By Intentional Act

Like we explained above, if someone causes intentional harm or damage to their own property the damage is not covered by insurance. Additionally, if a person causes intentional damage to someone else’s property the at-fault diver’s insurance will deny the claim. If the property is insured, the damage may be covered under the property owner’s policy.

Why Insurance Is Important

While insurance is required to operate a motor vehicle, the at-fault driver’s coverage doesn’t always cover the damage they cause. It is important to have insurance that protects you. If you have a car, uninsured/underinsured coverage is important.

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PA State Minimum Car Insurance Is Not Enough

If your car is important to you, make sure you have insurance that will cover any damage done by another driver. Additionally, make sure you have good Personal Injury Protection on your policy. State minimum insurance in PA will cover $5,000 in medical expenses, but you’ll likely need more. Minimum coverage is similar in other states. Your insurance covers you, so you should be sure you have the coverage you need to protect you and your car.

personal injury attorney justice

When To Contact An Attorney

If you have been injured by another driver, talk to an injury attorney for help. An injury attorney will investigate your claim. If there is coverage available for your claim, an attorney can negotiate the compensation you deserve.

Unfortunately, attorneys aren’t typically able to help with property damage claims. Property damage is not like an injury claim. This kind of claim is settled by insurance coverage for the actual cost of repairing the property. There isn’t much room to negotiate a property damage claim.

Kane & Silverman

Kane & Silverman is a trusted personal injury law firm. We help injured people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. If you need help with a personal injury claim, trust Kane & Silverman. Contact us today for a free injury case evaluation.