SW Legal studies in Business

Driver Who Has Left Vehicle No Longer Covered by Vehicle Policy
Description

Idaho high court held that a sheriff who left his vehicle to assist at a roadside problem, and was hit by a vehicle, was not covered by the underinsured and uninsured policy that applied to his vehicle since he was no longer occupying the vehicle.

Topic Insurance
Key Words

Underinsured Motorist; Pedestrian

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Andrae, a deputy sheriff, was driving his patrol car when he came to a construction zone that reduced traffic from four lanes to two. A semi-truck and two cars were pulled off the road with their hazard lights blinking. Andrae stopped to assist, parking behind the semi. He turned on his blinking lights and called for assistance. As he walked from his car to the scene, he moved a traffic cone when he was hit by a truck and injured. He collected the $25,000 maximum limits on the policy the truck driver carried and collected workers’ compensation benefits, but the cost of his injuries exceeded the money from those sources. He sought recovery from his employing county’s insurance plan, which provides uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. The insurer denied coverage. The court was asked to determine if coverage applied. The trial court held it did not. Andrae appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. The statutory requirements for uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits did not apply. Andrae was no longer “occupying” his car after he left it and, therefore, was not insured by the terms of the policy, which define “occupying” to include entering or exiting the vehicle, but not a person who has left it.

Citation Andrae v. Idaho Counties Risk Management Program Underwriters, 175 P.3d 195 (Sup. Ct., Idaho, 2007)

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