SW Legal studies in Business

Injury Imposed on Assailant at Home Covered by Homeowners Insurance
Description

Connecticut high court held that when two men argued, and one, the homeowner, threw the other off his porch causing injury, the homeowner’s insurance company had a duty to defend the homeowner as the policy applied to the accident.

Topic Insurance
Key Words

Homeowner Insurance; Accident; Criminal Attack

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Brown and his wife were estranged. She was living with Walukiewicz. Brown came to Walukiewicz’s house to talk to her. Walukiewicz told Brown to leave. The two argued and Walukiewicz threw Brown down the front porch steps, which caused serious injuries to Brown’s leg. He sued Walukiewicz to recover damages. Walukiewicz insisted that his homeowner insurer defend him in the case, claiming the injury to Brown were accidental, not intentional. The trial court held that the policy did not apply; Walukiewicz appealed.

Decision

Reversed and remanded. Injuries suffered by Brown were an accident within the meaning of the liability insurance portion of the homeowner policy. It provides coverage for injuries suffered in an accident, but not for intentionally caused injuries. Accident includes legitimate self-defense, which applies here. Walukiewicz was responding to Brown’s coming onto his property uninvited. That made Brown an assailant. In the course of an argument, Walukiewicz threw Brown off the porch. The action was spontaneous, unplanned, and unintentional. Walukiewicz did not intend to injure Brown; he believed he was acting in self-defense.

Citation

Vermont Mutual Insurance Co. v. Walukiewicz, ---A.2d--- (290 Conn. 582, Sup. Ct., CT, 2009)

Back to Insurance Listings

©1997-2009  South-Western Legal Studies in Business, A Division of Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.