Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Roadside Accidents

By: Tom DeLattre

Underinsured/Uninsured

How many times have you seen a vehicle pulled over on the side of the road because of an accident or engine issue, with the occupants walking behind or alongside their vehicle?

If the driver of an underinsured/uninsured vehicle is distracted or driving carelessly, they could easily veer off the roadway and strike the occupant standing behind or near the vehicle. Does the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage apply? Believe it or not, it depends. After all, underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage applies when you are injured in a car accident and the at-fault driver does not carry any or carries too little bodily injury coverage to adequately compensate you for your injuries, losses and damages. Also remember that a typical auto or business auto insurance policy defines an insured individual as someone who is “occupying” the vehicle for purposes of underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.

In a recent Florida case, the driver of a crane type truck pulled off the roadway and was standing approximately 10’-30’ from his truck for nearly 30 minutes, observing the work being done by the crane operator. He was struck by a passing motorist who lost control of their vehicle.

The crane truck driver was injured and the at-fault driver did not carry any bodily injury coverage and, therefore, the crane truck driver sought uninsured motorist benefits under his company’s business auto policy.

The Florida Court ruled against the crane truck driver holding that, essentially, he was standing for too long a period behind his truck and too far away from the truck itself to be entitled to uninsured motorist coverage. The Court added that the crane truck driver was not “in, on, entering or alighting from his truck at the time of impact.” Due to both the space between him and his truck and the amount of time that elapsed outside of the vehicle, he was deemed ineligible to receive uninsured motorist benefits.

Although we recommend that everyone carry stacking underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage on their auto policy, there are certain restrictions that do apply and situations when this type of coverage will not apply. Obviously, this is a very narrow exception but an exception to remember nonetheless.

If you, a friend or a loved one are unfortunately injured as a result of an auto accident  or have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Wieland, Hilado & DeLattre, P.A. at (407) 841-7699.  For additional resources, keep checking our blog, LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more helpful hints and to always be informed about best practices in law.

Testimonials

Thank you for all the help through the years. We’d have been up the creek without a paddle if not for you. We really appreciate everything you’ve done for us. We hope you and your business continue to be a big help to the unknowing public, and continue to thrive. If we can help you in any way, please let us know!

P.S. We’ll continue to send people your way.

– Ken

On September 29, 2015, a serious auto crash changed our lives forever. Injuries sustained by my husband and I resulted in a long hospital stay and several subsequent surgeries. Two years later, we are both still dealing with injury related issues. Within a few days of the crash, we asked a relative about getting an attorney and they recommended Tom DeLattre (Wieland Hilado & DeLattre). Tom returned my husband’s call that same day and arranged to meet with us at the hospital. He explained the process and assured us that he would handle the auto insurance companies. He explained that our job was to work on our recovery. He was always available for questions and would return calls on weekends and while on vacation. We are very happy with the fair settlement that Tom DeLattre worked out with the insurance companies. I would not hesitate to recommend him to friends or other family members.

– L. Newsome