On November 1, 2003, Julio Cesar Severino (Severino) and Yavalier Rodriguez (Rodriguez) drove to Jersey City in a 1980 Toyota owned by Severino’s fiancé, Viviana Muniz (Muniz). Severino and Rodriguez exited the vehicle and were struck by an automobile. Severino and Rodriguez died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.
Severino’s estate filed these actions in the trial court and asserted various claims for underinsured motorist (UIM) and personal injury protection (PIP) benefits under an insurance policy covering the Muniz vehicle. The trial court found that Severino was not entitled to coverage under the Muniz policy as a “named insured,” but that plaintiffs were nevertheless entitled to UIM and PIP benefits because, at the time of the accident, Severino and Rodriguez were “occupying” the Muniz vehicle. Defendants appealed.
The Appellate Division concluded that plaintiffs were not entitled to UIM or PIP benefits under the Muniz policy because Severino was not a “named insured” under the policy, and because Severino and Rodriguez were not “occupying” the covered vehicle at the time of the accident.
Thanks to Sheila Osei for her contributions to this post!