Under What Circumstances Does Uninsured Motorist Pay?

Dallas insurance lawyers need to be able to discuss this question with clients.
The Texas Insurance Code, Section 1952.104(3) says:
required that, for the insured to recover under the uninsured motorist coverage if the owner or operator of any motor vehicle that causes bodily injury or property damage to the insured is unknown, actual physical contact must have occurred between the motor vehicle owned or operated by the unknown person and the person or property of the insured.
There are a lot of Texas Court cases that discuss this issue.
Here is a unique situation – blinding lights running the insured off the road. The case is, Goen v. Trinity Universal Insurance Co. It is a 1986, Texarkana Court of Appeals case. Here is what it says:
Cynthia Goen was stopped in her car at the intersection of 4th and Peques Streets in Longview, headed south on 4th Street. She was in the inside lane, behind a white car at a red light. At the same time, Linda Morgan was in the northbound outside lane on the same street. When the light turned green, the white car turned left onto Peques Street directly in front of Morgan’s car, causing Morgan to turn sharply to the left to avoid a collision. This evasive action caused Morgan’s car to travel into Goen’s lane and strike Goen’s car. Neither Morgan nor Goen struck the white car, which remains unidentified.
The Goens sued Morgan and Trinity, their insurance carrier. Morgan settled with the Goens, leaving the suit to proceed against Trinity. The Goens asserted two grounds of recovery, based on different clauses in the insurance policy: the uninsured motorist clause and the personal injury protection provision.
On July 18, 1985, Trinity moved for summary judgment, arguing that the undisputed facts negate Goen’s claim of recovery under the uninsured motorist clause. It maintains that the uninsured motorist clause did not apply because there was no contact between the insured car and the unidentified white car. The Goens’ policy provides uninsured motorist coverage to them in the event of injury to their person or damage to their property when they are hit by a vehicle operated by an unidentified person. Trinity asserts that since the unidentified car did not hit Goen’s car, the uninsured motorist clause does not apply. The trial court agreed.
In reaching its decision the Court stated that in the above quoted statute the Legislature clearly articulated its intent that the uninsured motorist protection not apply when an unknown person causes damage or injury to the insured, unless there is physical contact with the unknown person’s vehicle. Absent such contact, the uninsured motorist provision does not apply.
An experienced Insurance Law Attorney can discuss how courts have ruled in various situations. Based on those various situations, the attorney should be able to properly discuss a probable outcome to most situations that may be presented.

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