Courts Rule Truck Insurer Must Pay for Damaged Airplane

December 29, 2005

Two Michigan courts have ruled that the insurer of a truck must pay $18,000 for damage caused to a small airplane that crashed after clipping the truck as the pilot tried to land in a grassy airfield. Cincinnati Insurance Company was sued for the plane damage caused in the May 2003 accident in a Rockford District Court.

According to accounts of the accident, the truck was being lawfully driven on a road when the two-seat Cessna flipped over it and went nose-first into the ground, stopping upside-down in the field. The truck driver, Kevin Gould of Sand Lake, said he was hauling broken concrete when he spotted the aircraft diving toward him. Gould was not hurt in the May 2003 accident that happened just outside of Cedar Springs, Michigan. The pilot of the plane, Richard DeGraw, and his wife Karol, also escaped injury.

The DeGraws sent a letter to the trucking company, Dean’s Landscaping in Sand Lake, saying that a claim was being made against his insurer seeking payment of damages to the plane.

Attorney for the DeGraws, argued in court that Michigan’s no-fault insurance statute calls for compensation in property-damage cases that occur in collisions between motor vehicles designed to be driven upon roads and things that are not, when the collisions do not occur upon roads. The attorney argued that the plane is not a highway vehicle, and since it struck the truck and never touched the road surface, the accident didn’t occur upon a road.

The attorney for Cincinnati Insurance Company argued that the definitions of “motor vehicle” and “upon a road” were too narrow and not what the no-fault statute intended.

Topics Carriers Auto Michigan Aviation

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