Vespa + Cardboard box = No Coverage (NY)

In an effort to reduce the potential for bogus claims, in order to sustain a claim for uninsured motorist coverage in New York for accidents involving “hit-and-run” vehicles, the claimant must establish that there was “physical contact” with the hit-and-run vehicle.

In State Farm v. Beddini, the claimants were on a Vespa, when a large, cardboard box flew off of the back of an unidentified pick-up truck. The box became lodged in the front wheel of the Vespa, causing the claimants to be ejected and sustain injuries.

A similar situation occurred in [i]Allstate v. Killkaney[/i], where a tire and rim from an unidentified vehicle caused the claimant’s vehicle to crash. However, in rendering its decision, the Court of Appeals held that physical contact occurs “when the accident originates in collision with an unidentified vehicle, or an integral part of an unidentified vehicle.”

As such, the [i]Beddini [/i]Court found that, while a tire and rim were clearly an integral part of a vehicle, a cardboard box was not, and therefore, there was no coverage for the claim.

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