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Law School Case Brief

Wise v. Truck Ins. Exch. - 11 Wash. App. 405, 523 P.2d 431 (1974)


The legal status of parties involved in an accident is to be determined as of the time of the accident and is unaffected by a subsequent disaffirmance of a minor's contract, i.e., the status of the parties at the time of the accident exists apart from the enforceability of the minor's contract.


Joe B. and Geraldine Wise’s 14-year-old son, Alvin, traded his bicycle to Richard Jarvis for a car, which he converted to a dune buggy. As Alvin and his brother, Keith, worked on the car, Jarvis’ 15-year-old son, Ricky, at the request of Keith, turned on the buggy, which then moved and struck Geraldine. Joe B. and Geraldine Wise made a claim for Geraldine's injuries under the uninsured motorist portion of their policy with respondent insurer, Truck Insurance Exchange, and coverage was denied. The Wises sued respondents Truck Insurance, Richard and Ardith Jarvis, and Richard Jarvis as guardian ad litem for Ricky Jarvis, a minor. The trial court granted respondents' motion for summary judgment. 


May the Wise couple claim insurance coverage under their policy?




The court affirmed and found that rights under the Wises' policy were fixed by the status of the vehicle's ownership on the accident date and were not affected by a subsequent disaffirmance by Alvin. On that date, Alvin, a member of their household, owned the car, and coverage under the terms of the uninsured motorist provision was expressly excluded. It was clear that Ricky drove the car only upon request and for no other purpose.

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