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New Jersey Court Rules: Uninsured Motorist Policy Covers Drive-By Shooting Victim

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A New Jersey Appellate Division ruling determined a woman injured in a drive-by shooting is entitled to compensation from the uninsured motorist portion of coverage, although she was not in her vehicle at the time of the shooting.

Typically, uninsured motorist coverage provides benefits for hit-and-run drivers or drivers involved in accidents who fail to hold auto insurance. She claimed her coverage should cover her injuries because the shooter was in a vehicle.

The insurance company denied coverage and a lower court dismissed her case.

But, appellate judges, cited, two New Jersey Supreme Court rulings, in which there were no requirements that the vehicle “literally strike the insured” for the policyholder to be eligible to receive benefits.

“The automobile did more than provide a setting or an enhanced opportunity for the assault. In addition to allowing the assailant to be at the place of attack, it furnished the assailant with what he must have assumed would be both anonymity and a means of escape. The assailant would not likely have committed such an act of apparently random violence use of a car,” the judges wrote.