Martin, also a California lawyer, doesn’t believe God was in that crashing car at all. He writes:
- “The person below who claims to be a California lawyer has misunderstood the law of negligence and the responsibility of a driver on the road. He incorrectly believes the negligence requires that someone do something intentionally. It doesn’t. The driver had a duty to operate his vehicle safely (as we all do) and he breached that duty when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into someone.
While having a stroke might a defense to a criminal action (since he had no intent), it is not a defense to negligence, which does not require intent at all.
I think that the person who originally contacted The Consumerist is confused about how liability insurance works. If Progressive is the stroke victim/driver’s liability insurance company, they don’t have to pay anything until the driver loses a lawsuit, and then the insurance company’s only obligation is to pay the damages that its insured (the driver) is ordered by a court to pay.
Now, it is often the case that the insurance company settles without a lawsuit, in order to avoid the costs associated with hiring a lawyer, etc.
Act of God clauses usually apply in property damage claims made by the insured (i.e., his car is struck by the finger of god, lightning). So, if you are trying to get your insurance company to pay for damage caused by a stroke victim/driver, I could see them attempting to invoke the Act of God clause, but I think that they would not win if you sued them.
The act of God clause has no application here. If the guy hit someone, he’s responsible, and when he loses a lawsuit, his insurance company will have an obligation to pay his damages. If they choose to do so beforehand, that’s fine. But, if they don’t, the only remedy is to find a lawyer and sue him (not his insurance company) for the damage he caused.”
Guess this is why they call ‘em lawyers. We’ll need to get a judge to sort this one out for certain.