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Uninsured coverage doesn't include property damage in hit-and-run accident

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The Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday affirmed summary judgment for an insurance company that its motor vehicle policy issued to a family does not provide uninsured motorists coverage in a hit-and-run accident.

No one was injured in the accident involving Bryan Robinson and an unidentified driver, but Robinson’s car was totaled. It was covered under a policy with Erie Insurance Exchange. Robinson and his mother Shannon filed a claim, but Erie denied coverage. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the insurer, but the Court of Appeals reversed.

In Shannon Robinson and Bryan Robinson v. Erie Insurance Exchange, 49S02-1311-PL-733, Shannon and Bryan Robinson argued that Gillespie v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 850 N.E.2d 913 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006), mandates that the Erie policy provide coverage for property damage sustained by their vehicle in the hit-and-run accident.

But the Supreme Court noted the differences in policy language between the Geico policy and the Erie policy at issue.  

“In the context of a hit-and-run driver causing an accident, the availability of uninsured motorists coverage (which depends on whether the other vehicle fits one of the three Erie policy meanings for ‘uninsured motor vehicle’) is solely determined by the third meaning, which expressly includes a ‘hit-and-run motor vehicle’ whose driver and owner are unknown, but only if the other vehicle causes bodily injury to the insured,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote. “These provisions are not ambiguous and do not require the application of rules of construction. Because personal injury did not result to Bryan Robinson in the accident, the Erie policy does not provide uninsured motorist coverage with respect to the property damage sustained by the Robinsons’ vehicle. The trial court was correct to grant Erie’s motion for summary judgment.”

 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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