Texas Case Law Upholds One Accident Under Liability Policy

When Global employee Marlon Diggs lost control of the Mack truck he was driving on North Beltway 8 in Houston, Texas, he struck four vehicles and a toll plaza over the course of ten minutes. At no time during the event did he apply the brakes or regain control over the truck. Global was insured by Mid-Continent Casualty Company under a policy with a $1 million per-accident limit. Global also held an excess liability policy with Evanston Insurance Company with a $5 million per-accident liability limit. A multi-million dollar settlement was reached between the various claimants and the insurance companies, but Mid-Continent refused to pay more than $1 million under its policy arguing that all five collisions were one “accident” under the policy. Evanston, the excess carrier disagreed and filed suit against Mid-Continent arguing that each separate collision was a separate “accident” under the policies. The district court agreed that the collisions were separate accidents unrelated to one another. Mid-Continent appealed. Applying Texas law, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit disagreed with the district court’s decision. Find out why: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/17/17-20812-CV0.pdf