European Court forces insurers to pay-up for damages caused by joyrider

In a landmark ruling, insurers in Portugal have been forced to pay damages caused by a joyrider to the owner of the car that he was in the process of stealing . This complicated case has taken years to adjudicate and involves a claimant who was twice run over, and hurt very badly, by the thief who stole his car.

Initially, insurers refused to pay up, citing clauses now ruled illegal.

The clauses exclude a pedestrian being indemnified for damages when he is the policy holder and owner of the car that caused the damage.

But in this extraordinary case, the policyholder maintained that he should have been treated like any other pedestrian, and on advice from European judges, Évora appeal court has ruled that he is right.

The case, however, goes back to 2009. Thus it has taken the man who was awarded over €200,000 in damages – and who could not work for the best part of two years because of his injuries – eight years to see his initial award ‘rubber-stamped’.

The injured party will still have to wait for his cheque, though any kind of further appeal now looks unlikely.

If there is any moral to this story, it could be: “do not run after a joyrider”.

As reports explain, the claimant and his wife set off in a second car when they realised their first car was being stolen.

The first car stopped at some point, the claimant jumped out and ran to accost the driver who proceeded to reverse over him – twice, (the second time dragging him for eight metres along the road).

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