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Does Being In Possession Of Cannabis Invalidate My Fibromyalgia Claim?

Dear Brian,

I was the front seat passenger in a car driven by my friend. He drove into a ditch and I hurt myself, developing Fibromyalgia. It was my friend’s fault for driving into the ditch, but his insurers say they will not meet my claim for damages because at the time of the accident we were both in possession of significant amounts of cannabis. The police are saying that the purpose of the car journey was the supply of cannabis.

Can the insurers refuse to meet the claim and will you take on my case? My friend could not afford to pay me damages himself.



Dear James,

The first question to be answered is whether your driver was driving negligently. You say he clearly was. In that case, his insurers would normally cover him and pay you damages. Here, however they can argue that the driver was committing a serious crime. You may not regard transporting cannabis to supply it as being particularly serious, but the Courts do. There is a recent decision on the point where the Court of Appeal said that this was a serious crime (supplying illegal drugs). The Court of Appeal held that insurers could avoid the policy.

It looks very much as though insurers can take that line whether or not you were involved yourself in intending to supply cannabis to others.

I therefore have to take the view that insurers would probably be justified in avoiding the policy in your case and therefore I will be unable to act for you.

Brian Barr

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