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Five Things You Need to Know About the Gallagher v. Geico Decision


In January 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a significant decision in Gallagher v. Geico. This decision addressed an important issue regarding the stacking of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in Pennsylvania. Here are five things you need to know about the Gallagher v. Geico decision:


1. What is stacking?


Stacking is the practice of combining or "stacking" multiple insurance policies or coverages to increase the total amount of coverage available. In the context of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, stacking allows an individual to combine the coverage from multiple policies or vehicles to increase the amount of compensation they can receive in the event of an accident.


2. What did the Gallagher v. Geico decision clarify?


The Gallagher v. Geico decision clarified that the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law allows the stacking of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage unless the policy explicitly waives or limits stacking. The court held that the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law's anti-stacking provision, which prohibits stacking of liability coverage, does not apply to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.


3. Why is the Gallagher v. Geico decision significant?


The Gallagher v. Geico decision is significant because it resolves a long-standing debate over whether the stacking of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is allowed under Pennsylvania law. The decision confirms that stacking is permissible unless the insurance policy explicitly prohibits it, which can result in significantly higher compensation for accident victims. However, the scope of the impact of this decision is yet to be seen. The Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys at Leeson and Leeson will be staying on top of the latest legal developments on this issue for our clients as time moves on.


4. How does the Gallagher v. Geico decision affect insurance policies?


Pennsylvania insurance companies will need to review their policies and make changes to ensure compliance with the Gallagher v. Geico decision. Policies that previously prohibited stacking of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage will need to be updated to allow stacking unless the insured explicitly waives this option. This may result in higher premiums for some policyholders.


5. What should individuals do in light of the Gallagher v. Geico decision?


Individuals who have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage should review their policies to ensure that they have the option to stack coverage. Suppose stacking is not allowed under their current policy. In that case, they may want to consider switching to a policy that will enable stacking to ensure that they have adequate coverage in the event of an accident. It is also essential for individuals to work with an experienced attorney to navigate the complexities of insurance coverage and ensure that they receive the compensation they are entitled to.



In conclusion, the Gallagher v. Geico decision is an important development in Pennsylvania insurance law that clarifies the rules around the stacking of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Policyholders should review their policies to ensure that they have the option to stack coverage and work with experienced attorneys to navigate the complexities of insurance coverage and maximize their compensation in the event of an accident.


The Bethlehem personal injury attorneys at Leeson & Leeson are here to help guide you through this process and protect your rights under the law.

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