An Overview of § 1724 under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)

Under Section §1724, "Certain Nonexcludable Conditions", Pennsylvania's Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law stipulates that insurance benefits cannot be denied simply because a driver was found to be impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.

Statutory Text

§ 1724. Certain nonexcludable conditions.

(a) General rule.--Insurance benefits may not be denied solely because the driver of the insured motor vehicle is determined to be under the influence of drugs or intoxicating beverages at the time of the accident for which benefits are sought.

(b) Contract exclusions.--Provisions of an insurance policy which exclude insurance benefits if the insured causes a vehicular accident while under the influence of drugs or intoxicating beverages at the time of the accident are void.

Key Terms Defined:

"Nonexcludable Conditions"

These are instances or cases where insurance firms are not allowed to disregard or omit coverage. In the setting of §1724, nonexcludable conditions refer to situations where the driver of an insured vehicle was under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the accident.

"Insurance benefits"

These are the payouts an individual receives from an insurance provider after filing a claim. They aid in covering repair costs or medical expenses incurred due to the accident.

"Contract exclusions"

These are specific situations or conditions outlined in an insurance agreement that are not covered by the policy. According to §1724, any exclusions denying benefits pertaining to a driver's substance impairment at the time of the accident are null and void.

Importance to Pennsylvanian Drivers:

This section of MVFRL provides critical protections for Pennsylvania’s drivers. The law supports the driver’s right to claim insurance benefits, regardless of their sobriety status during the accident. It specifically opposes the unfair practice of denying claims solely based on the driver's intoxication at the time of the mishap. Although it should not be construed as promoting or condoning impaired driving, it ensures that drivers aren't left financially devastated due to insurance contract exclusions.

Importance to Pennsylvania Attorneys:

For attorneys, section §1724 is significant as it provides a legal basis to challenge the denial of claims if an insurer invokes the intoxication of the insured at the time of accident as the sole reason. The clear language of section also helps in reducing ambiguities, thereby providing clarity in cases related to post-accident claims. Understanding and interpreting this section could lead to more effective representation of clients in vehicular accident cases.

Advanced Analysis:

The language used in section §1724 emphasizes two main points. Firstly, it asserts that insurance benefits are inviolable despite the condition of the driver at the time of the accident. This language, while seemingly protecting impaired drivers, is more geared towards ensuring that all obligations originating from the insurance policy are duly met.

Secondly, the section addresses directly contractual clauses that exclude coverage in the event of an accident caused by an impaired driver. By rendering such exclusions as void, the law affirms that insurance providers cannot refuse coverage in these specific cases.

Consequently, this section serves as a crucial component in ensuring the fair treatment and protection of insured drivers.

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Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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