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Oregon Supreme Court and Vehicle Insurance: redefines, inter alia, the word “repair”

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(inter alia)

Today’s story in the Oregonian, “High court backs pickup owner over insurer,” is more interesting than the headline might lead you to believe.

The case it refers to is: Gonzales v. Farmers Insurance (S054486):

Excerpt: “… This is an action on an automobile insurance policy. Plaintiff’s insured vehicle suffered property damage in an accident. Defendants(1) paid for repairs to the vehicle, but the repairs did not restore the vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Defendants contended that they were responsible for only the cost of the repairs. Plaintiff claimed that the policy made defendants liable for plaintiff’s entire “loss” and that, if the attempted repair could not restore the vehicle to its pre-accident condition, then defendants were responsible for the diminution of the value of the vehicle due to the accident.

The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals reversed. Citing two decisions from this court, the Court of Appeals determined that an insurer in these circumstances must restore the vehicle to its preloss condition or, if it could not do so, pay the insured the difference in the repaired vehicle’s fair market value before and after the collision. Gonzales v. Farmers Ins. Co., 210 Or App 54, 150 P3d 20 (2006), citing Dunmire Co. v. Or. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 166 Or 690, 114 P2d 1005 (1941), and Rossier v. Union Automobile Ins. Co., 134 Or 211, 297 P 498 (1930). For the reasons expressed below, we affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals….” (link to full case)

The Insurance Coverage Law Blog may soon post about it.