An Overview of § 1733 under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)

Section § 1733 titled "Priority of Recovery" in the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) establishes the order in which multiple insurance policies should be applied for payment in case of automobile accidents.

Statutory Text

§ 1733. Priority of recovery.

(a) General rule.--Where multiple policies apply, payment shall be made in the following order of priority:

(1) A policy covering a motor vehicle occupied by the injured person at the time of the accident.

(2) A policy covering a motor vehicle not involved in the accident with respect to which the injured person is an insured.

(b) Multiple sources of equal priority.--The insurer against whom a claim is asserted first under the priorities set forth in subsection (a) shall process and pay the claim as if wholly responsible. The insurer is thereafter entitled to recover contribution pro rata from any other insurer for the benefits paid and the costs of processing the claim.

Defining Key Terms:

"Priority of Recovery"

Refers to determining the sequence of insurance policy payments in situations where more than one policy applies to cover the damages and loss in an accident.

An "Insured" person

In this context, means an individual who is covered under a car insurance policy. This can be the policyholder or a considerable deviation to family members, drivers operating the vehicle with the policyholder's consent, or other specific individuals as defined in the policy.

"Contribution pro rata"

Refers to distributing the claim's responsibility among several insurance companies based on the percentage each company's policy contributes to the total insurance coverage.

Why this Section Matters for Pennsylvanian Drivers:

This legislation is crucial for Pennsylvanian drivers because it provides a clear direction on how claims are settled when multiple insurance policies are in place. Without this guideline, situations involving more than one applicable insurance policy could become confusing, delayed, and contentious for those involved.

Why this Section Matters for Pennsylvania Attorneys:

Section § 1733 serves as the guiding principle and legal framework for Pennsylvania accident lawyers in handling cases involving multiple policies. It allows lawyers to help their clients understand the order of priority for claims and ensure that insurance companies appropriately process claims.

Advanced Analysis of the Specific Language Used:

The statutory wording in § 1733 "Priority of Recovery" indicates the legislative intent to provide a systematic payment order for cases where more than one policy applies due to an accident. The terminology used places an operational burden on the insurer against whom the claim is first asserted to handle as if solely responsible for the claim. This insurer is then given the right to recover proportionately from any other insurer for the paid benefits and handling costs.

Remember, the keyword 'Priority' is significant in this context. It establishes a sequence for which insurer's policy 'kicks in' first depending on the scenario outlined in sub-clauses (1) and (2). The law attempts to streamline the process to reduce potential complexities and overlaps which may lead to disputes.

Finally, the language in this section not only ensures the fair application of policies, but also encourages efficiency by assigning responsibility for processing claims. It outlines a specific and structured format for claim payment, promoting fairness, transparency, and efficiency in the resolution of multi-faceted motor accident cases.

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Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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