SW Legal studies in Business

Victim of Random Drive-by Shooting Not Due Uninsured Motorist Benefits
Description

New Jersey high court held that the owner of a car, who was shot in an apparent random drive-by shooting as she approached her car, was not due coverage from her uninsured motorist insurance as the shooting was not related to ownership or operation of the car.

Topic Insurance
Key Words

Uninsured Motorist; Drive-by Shooting

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

When Livsey was walking to her car after she had been shopping for groceries, she was hit by a bullet from an unknown shooter believed to have been driving down the street. She filed an uninsured motorist claim with her car insurance provider to cover the injuries she suffered. The insurer rejected the claim because there was no accident that involved an uninsured motor vehicle. She sued the insurer but the trial court rejected her claim. The appeals court reversed in her favor; the insurer appealed.

Decision

Reversed and remanded. An insured who seeks uninsured motorist (UM) benefits must: 1) demonstrate that the injuries were caused by an accident, and 2) prove that the accident arose from the ownership, maintenance, operation or use of an uninsured vehicle. Being hit by a bullet at random qualifies as an accident, but did not arise out of the ownership, maintenance, operation or use of an uninsured vehicle, so Livsey was not entitled to UM benefits.

Citation

Livsey v. Mercury Insurance Group, 964 A.2d 312 (Sup. Ct., N.J., 2009)

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