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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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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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