Insurer Isn’t Liable to Fireman Hurt in Crash

     (CN) – A volunteer firefighter who was injured while responding to a crash in a hurricane cannot recover benefits from his insurer, a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled.
     After Devin Finazzo wrecked his car while driving negligently during a hurricane, volunteer firefighter Ronald Bole took off for the fire station.
     As he drove over a bridge on his own property, however, the bridge collapsed and Bole suffered serious injuries. Bole sued his insurer, Erie Insurance Exchange, since Finazzo was underinsured.
     Finding that intervening circumstances, rather than the Finazzo rescue operation, caused Bole’s injuries, however, an arbitration panel let Erie off the hook. A county judge affirmed in 2009, and the Pennsylvania Superior did the same in 2010.
     The state Supreme Court’s Western District agreed last week.
     Liability hinges on whether Bole’s accident was foreseeable, according to the seven-page ruling.
     “The rescue doctrine may allow recovery if the rescuer was struck by a car while driving to the scene, for that is reasonably foreseeable – it would not allow recovery if the rescuer was struck by a meteor, as that is not reasonably foreseeable,” Justice Michael Eakin wrote for a seven-member panel.
     “It is not reasonable to foresee a bridge more than three miles away, on the rescuer’s own property, would collapse and injure appellant as he drove to the station,” he added. “Therefore, we will not undo the arbitrators’ determination that the bridge collapse was a superseding cause of appellant’s injuries.”

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