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The Term "Accident" to Be construed in Favor of Insured
Description Florida high court upheld ruling in favor of insured building contractor who sued insurer for coverage of losses incurred when builder accidentally built a house over the set-back line. Accident includes events not expected or intended.
Topic Insurance
Key Words Accident, Liability, Mistake
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts CTC, a building contractor, has a "Contractor's Policy" that provided liability coverage up to $500,000 for damages caused by "occurrences." CTC built a house in violation of a 15' setback requirement, mistakenly thinking that a variance had been granted. Suit by the neighbors was settled for $22,500; CTC sued State Farm to recover for CTC's liability. Trial court granted summary judgment in favor of State Farm; appeals court reversed; State Farm appealed.
Decision Affirmed. "The issue to be decided in this case is whether the term 'accident' in a liability policy, which term is not otherwise defined, should be defines to include not only 'accidental events.' but also injuries or damages that are neither expected nor intended from the standpoint of the insured." "Viewing the term 'accident' from the standpoint of whether the insured expected or intended the damages is appropriate because ... the insured is the person whose economic interest is protected by the liability policy as opposed to the one who sustains harm to his person or property." The term "accident" in a liability policy "should be construed in favor of the insured."
Citation State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. CTC Development Corp., Slip Copy (1998 WL 696941, Sup. Ct., Fla.)
720 So.2d 1072 (Sup. Ct., Fla., 1998)

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