Another Sneaky Way Insurance Companies Deny Claims – Permissive Use

Permissive Use of an Automobile.

Are you serious? What do you mean that the driver did not have permission from the owner to drive the car?

Permissive use is one of the most common ways that insurance companies deny a claim.

Determining whether a driver had permission to use the insured auto is a two-step test: (1) Did the driver have permission to use the auto? And (2) Was the use within the scope of permission.

The permission to use the auto and the scope of the permission may be express or implied. The permission to use the auto may be limited as well. In Maryland, there is a presumption that the use was permissive (see Nationwide v. GEICO, 81 Md. App. 104, 119 (1989)). The presumption can only be rebutted where the evidence is conclusive.

Express permission may be written or oral while implied permission is shown by circumstances of a course of conduct or a lack of objection. The facts of the circumstances fill the void created by the absence of an express statement. Circumstantial evidence includes conduct, friendship or relationship of the parties, employment, lack of objection or mutual acquiescence.

Permission to do what? The scope of the permission may be limited temporarily, geographical, and to certain purposes. Maryland adopts the “total facts” approach, see National Grange Mutual Insurance Company v. Pinkney, 284 Md. 694, 698 (1979) which evaluates whether the vehicle was driven within the scope of the permission on a case by case basis.

How do you evaluate whether the person had permission? In Maryland, the analysis is whether the driver believed that he was entitled to drive the vehicle.

Are there any options when you are advised that the driver did not have permission to drive the vehicle that was involved in the collision? You may be entitled to Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury and Uninsured Motorist Collision Coverages from your own vehicle’s insurance policy.

At the Law Offices of Lewis & Tompkins, P.C., we have pierced the flimsy shield used by Insurance Companies of denying a claim due to “lack of permissive use”. We have fought and won against the denial due to lack of permissive use claims with drivers of rental vehicles, employees of companies, and acquaintances, friends, and relatives of the owners of the vehicle involved in the collision.

Many times our clients come to us stranded between two insurance companies, the at-fault vehicle’s insured that states that the driver did not have permission and their own company that states that they will not pay benefits because they do not believe that the at-fault driver did not have permission to drive the vehicle. Do not be stranded or lost. Contact us immediately.