On April 17, the Supreme Court of Texas ruled that an insurance company must pay a claim for a child who suffered personal injuries because of a collision with a truck that was fleeing police.
Greg and Maribel Tanner, the parents of the injured child, filed suit against the driver’s insurance company, Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance CO., but were denied a share of his $300,000 insurance policy.
The company claimed that it was not required to pay the claim because Richard Gibbons, the truck’s driver, was fleeing police at the time of the 1999 crash, which was in violation of his insurance policy.
On the day of the crash, Gibbons’ Ford F-350 was pulled over by a Texas state trooper. He initially stopped for police, but the fled. He was eventually arrested.
According to court papers, Gibbons led police on a high-speed chase exceeding 80 miles per hour.
During the chase, Gibbons ran through and intersection and collided with the vehicle occupied by the Tanners. All four family members suffered injuries, but 7-year-old Roney Tanner’s were the most sever because he was seated on the side of the vehicle where the collision occurred.
According to court papers, Gibbons fled the scene of the crash and was later arrested after police shot out his tires.
Roney Tanner was in a coma for a week and required five years of physical therapy. His family filed suit against Nationwide Mutual and obtained a default judgment.
The company refused to pay damages, claiming the intentional-injury exclusion barred coverage for the claims. The company filed an appeal and the jury’s verdict was reversed.
However, the Supreme Court ruled that Nationwide failed to establish as a matter of law that the family’s injuries had been intentionally caused by Gibbons, reversing the appellate court’s decision and allowing the jury’s verdict to stand.