Monday, November 12, 2018

No UIM Coverage for Gunshot Wounds From High Speed Police Chase

In the case of Eberhardinger v. City of York and State Farm, No. 1:16-cv-2481 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 18, 2018 Connor, C.J.), the court addressed the elements of a UIM claim. More specifically, the court reaffirmed the rule that a Plaintiff’s alleged injuries in a UIM claim must have a causal connection to the use of a motor vehicle.  

In this matter, the passenger Plaintiff was struck by bullets fired by the police during a high speed vehicle chase.  The Plaintiff passenger, who was the owner of the vehicle involved in the high speed chase, sought PIP and UIM benefits from her policy.  

The court held that the injuries to the Plaintiff passenger from being shot did not arise out of the “maintenance or use of a motor vehicle” for purposes of recovering UIM benefits under the policy.   These injuries were found to be not vehicle-caused injuries, but rather, were the direct consequence of an intentional intervening act of a third party, with only incidental involvement of the motor vehicle.  

The court additionally noted that, in any event, even if causation could be shown, the UIM coverage under the policy excluded injuries caused by a firearm.  

The court in this decision went on to grant summary judgment on the Plaintiff's companion bad faith claim on the rationale that there could be no bad faith where there was no coverage under the policy.

In case you are interested, the court in this decision also addressed claims of Section 1983 civil rights liability against the municipal defendants.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  The Court's Order can be viewed HERE.

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