Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: May 19, 2011

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Insurance Question from Paradise, CA

Asked on 05/19/2011

. Would my living situation affect my ability to be covered on bodily injury and property damage claim? Would mother in turn have to pay my medical bills? Please read details. My boyfriend's mother has an insurance policy that only covers bodily injury and property damage. My boyfriend and I were in an accident in April of this year. My boyfriend was the driver and I was the passenger. He fell asleep at the wheel and hit a tree. I was not horribly injured, yet I spent 9 hours in the emergency room at my local hospital. I couldn't move my head for about three weeks, had major neck and shoulder pain including a neck sprain. I had bruises all over my neck, chest, and knees. I also suffered a pneumothorax, which is a small collapsed lung. My boyfriend is an unlicensed driver.Anyhow, my boyfriend and I live in a trailer on his mother's property and pay no rent. When talking with my injury claims representative, my boyfriend's mother lied to her, saying that our properties were the same but were classified as our trailer being address A and her house being address B. She also said that my boyfriend pays rent and I stay in the trailer only sometimes, as I am homeless, which is also untrue. I do live in the trailer. She also claimed that my boyfriend took the car without permission which is untrue as well. My boyfriend's mother has told me that if my boyfriend does not make the same claims as she, (all the lies) that she will end up having to pay all my medical bills, and I will be denied coverage and will get no settlement. She also claims that her policy says that if we live on her property for free that they will deny me coverage and again she will end up having to pay my medical bills. I believe that this is simply a case of her wanting to save her own butt, but have no way of knowing because I cannot view the terms of her policy.

Answer given on May 20, 2011

Your living situation should not affect whether your boyfriend’s mother’s insurance will pay for your injuries. 

In California, insurance follows the car, so the mother’s insurance should pay for your injuries, up to the limits of her policy.  Even though your boyfriend does not have a license, if he had permission to use the car there is insurance coverage.  If his mother claims he didn’t have permission, there could be a problem with the insurance.  However, if she did not report the car as stolen, and if your boyfriend had the keys, she may be unable to say he didn’t have permission.

You and your boyfriend need to talk to the insurance adjuster  or agent, to see how the insurance company is looking at this claim.  I don’t recommend talking to his mother about this.  If the insurance company denies the insurance coverage, then your recourse would be to sue the mother for your injuries.


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