State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. GEICO Indem. Co

In State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. GEICO Indem. Co., 241 Va. 326, 402 S.E.2d 21, 7 Va. Law Rep. 1752 (Va. 1991), the Supreme Court of Virginia held that an exception to the general rule that a named insured must consent to a person's operation of a vehicle for purposes of coverage under the omnibus statute provisions of an automobile liability policy is appropriate in emergency circumstances such as where the driver has become incapacitated. State Farm, 402 S.E.2d at 23. In State Farm, although the vehicle owners' daughter had general permission to drive the vehicle, she was expressly prohibited from allowing anyone else to operate it. Id. at 21. One evening, the daughter became ill while operating the vehicle and asked a passenger to drive. Id. Subsequently, the vehicle was involved in an accident. Id. The court noted that "if a driver becomes incapacitated for some reason, concerns over whether a subsequent driver would be covered by insurance should not be a factor in the decision to place a qualified, able driver behind the wheel." Id. at 23.