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An Application of Langan

Matter of Utica Mut. Ins. Co. v Burrous, 2014 NY Slip Op 06986

“From the eyes of the decedent”

“Contrary to the Supreme Court’s determination, Utica is not entitled to a permanent stay of arbitration, and that branch of its petition should have been denied. In State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v Langan (16 NY3d 349), the Court of Appeals held that, for the purposes of an uninsured motorist endorsement, when an occurrence is “unexpected, unusual and unforeseen,” from the insured’s perspective, it qualifies as an “accident” (id. at 355 [internal quotation marks omitted]). Here, from the decedent’s perspective, her collision with Demoliere’s vehicle was unexpected, unusual, and unforeseen. Therefore, the occurrence constituted an “accident” within the meaning of the uninsured motorist endorsement of the decedent’s policy (see State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v Langan, 16 NY3d at 355-357; see Matter of Progressive Northeastern Ins. Co. v Vanderpool, 85 AD3d 926, 927)”

It is an inquiry of whether the recipient of PIP benefits or seeking UM benefits was part of the intentional loss.  In a staged loss scenario, this is colloquially stated a “no-brainer.”  When the issue involves the victim of someone on a death wish (who is not Charles Bronson), it is a different story.