4 Dec. 2018

James Haggerty Writes Article for The Legal Intelligencer

Posted By Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C.

Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C. is proud to announce that our own James C. Haggerty was recently featured in The Legal Intelligencer. In an article called “Stacking of UM/UIM Coverages for Newly Acquired Vehicles,” Attorney James Haggerty discusses Pennsylvania auto policy, and how uninsured or underinsured motorists may be at risk under current laws

Haggerty begins by looking at the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, which dictates that stacking of uninsured (UM) or underinsured motorists (UIM) coverage may be waived. Stacking insurance refers to increasing coverage limits for UM or UIM in relation to how many cars they own. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined in Sackett v. Nationwide (known as Sackett I) that a new waiver is needed for UM or UIM coverage when a new vehicle is added to a previously unstacked policy. The issue, Attorney Haggerty argues, is that the court recognized a minor exception to this rule (known as Sackett II), which allowed for a new vehicle to be added to a previous policy by, “operation of a continuous newly acquired vehicle.”

He goes on to state that by creating the exception in Sackett II, the Supreme Court recognized that it is unreasonable to force an insurer to secure a stacking waiver for a vehicle covered under the newly acquired clause in Sackett v. Nationwide, because the clause implies that the insurer does not know the insured party has purchased a vehicle. It follows then that a new vehicle added to a policy may or may not fall under the stacking waiver depending on whether coverage was extended with a time limit and notice requirement.

Attorney Haggerty writes in The Legal Intelligencer that the problem with the newly acquired clause in Sackett II is that it’s rarely used, because in another ruling by the Superior Court (known as Sackett III,) it was determined that in cases where the insured tells the insurer that they have acquired a new vehicle before or as it is being purchased, the newly acquired clause can’t be triggered. This necessitates the need for a new stacking waiver, yet as many insurers refuse to recognize Sackett II, insurance carriers frequently contend that a new waiver is not needed.

Attorney Haggerty also notes that under Bumbarger v. Peerless, the Supreme Court determined that stacking waivers should be applied depending on the manner in which they were added to an existing policy, further securing the precedent that it matters whether insurers are notified before, during, or after a new vehicle is purchased. James Haggerty concludes that until insurance companies recognize this precedent, confusion around stacking waivers for UM/UIM coverage will prevail in Pennsylvania.

Contact an Insurance Coverage Attorney at Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C.

At Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C., our Pennsylvania car accident attorneys have the skills and experience to help you. James Haggerty has been assisting clients in personal injury, insurance coverage, and bad faith insurance claim cases since 2012, and is widely versed in UM and UIM coverage claims and waivers.

Before launching Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C., James was a defense lawyer serving as the President of the Defense Institute and Chairman of the organization’s Motor Vehicle Law Committee, so he understands auto law from both sides. Attorney Haggerty and the rest of our team here at Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C. have over 100 years of collective experience, offer bilingual services, and own ten offices located throughout Pennsylvania for your convenience.

If you need a trusted attorney to advocate on your behalf, don’t hesitate to call Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C. at 267-419-6422 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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