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PA Court Finds Fall on Ice While Clearing Windshield Covered by Insurance Policy

May 22, 2012

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<p style="text-align: left;" align="center">In <em>Reich v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co</em>., the plaintiff, while clearing the snow off the windshield of his vehicle, slipped on a patch of ice and injured his knee.  At the time of the accident, the plaintiff had a policy with Progressive and submitted a claim to recover medical expenses and lost wages connected to the fall.  Progressive denied the claim.  Subsequently, the plaintiff filed an action against Progressive.</p>
In its summary judgment motion, Progressive argued, <em>inter alia</em>, that the plaintiff’s accident did not occur during the “maintenance or use” of his vehicle, thus, there was no coverage.  The court rejected this argument and acknowledged that, although, Pennsylvania courts generally have declined to extend coverage to accidents involving a claimant falling while exiting a vehicle, this case was different.  Here, when the plaintiff exited his vehicle to clear off the windshield, he had already started his car.  Therefore, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s injury was attributable to the common usage of the vehicle and the court denied Progressive’s motion for summary judgment. 
Thanks to Colleen Hayes for her contribution to this post.
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