October 2016

In October 2016, Noel Halpin obtained summary judgment in federal court on behalf of an insurance carrier in an underinsured motorist case.  Plaintiff was injured while working on the paving and repair of a four-lane highway in Daviess County, Kentucky.  He was situated in one lane in front of a pickup truck which towed a flashing arrow board behind it to warn advancing drivers of the construction zone.  Despite the warning, a driver struck the arrow board from behind and the force of that collision caused the pickup truck to strike the Plaintiff.  The Plaintiff was seriously injured.  The Plaintiff recovered policy limits from the driver’s insurance carrier.  He then sought underinsured motorist benefits from his employer’s insurance carrier.  Both parties asked the court for declaratory judgment.  Based on the policy language, the parties agreed that to claim underinsured benefits the Plaintiff was only considered an “insured” if he was “occupying” the vehicle at the time of the collision which required that he be “in, upon, getting in, on, out of or off” of the pickup truck that struck him.  Applying the law to the facts of the case, the Court determined that the Plaintiff was not an occupant of the pickup truck at the time of the collision, and therefore he was not covered as an insured under the policy.  The insurance carrier’s motion for summary judgment was granted and the case was dismissed.

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