Wis. Appeals Court: Judge Erred in General Casualty Auto Liability Limits Ruling

December 22, 2004

WAUSAU, Wis.—A Brown County judge erred in ruling that a car insurance policy must provide $1 million in coverage following a deadly crash involving a 16-year-old driver, a state appeals court ruled recently.

The policy provided by General Casualty Co. of Wisconsin provided liability coverage up to $500,000 per accident, not per individual covered by the insurance, the 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled.

According to court records, Courtney Langer, 16, drove her car broadside into a van driven by 45-year-old James Wingfield on a Green Bay street on Oct. 15, 1999. Wingfield was killed and passengers in both vehicles were injured.

Circuit Judge Mark Warpinski ruled that General Casualty’s liability limits were cumulative to $1 million because Langer’s father was the name insured on the policy and he sponsored his daughter’s drivers license, court records said.

Citing a state Supreme Court ruling, the appeals court said the liability coverage provides a single limit for an owner of a car and the driver with permission to drive it as long as the owner’s liability is not based on a separate negligent act.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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