Personal Injury Claims and Uninsured Motorists Coverage

Personal Injury Claims and Uninsured Motorists Coverage

In the State of Tennessee, every person who operates a motor vehicle must have that automobile insured with at least liability insurance coverage.   Additionally, Tennessee law requires that every liability insurance policy issued in this State include Uninsured Motorists coverage.  This valuable coverage is intended to be available to an insured person if that person is involved in an automobile accident due to the fault of another driver and the other driver’s vehicle is not insured.

Tennessee Allows for Exclusion of a “Guest Passenger”

In a recent decision of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, the Court held that a Shelter Insurance Company’s insurance policy properly excluded from the Uninsured Motorists coverage a guest passenger in the insured vehicle.  According to the Court’s decision, the Plaintiff was a guest (unrelated) passenger in an automobile which was insured by Shelter Insurance.  The insured vehicle was struck by an uninsured motorist in another vehicle.  The guest passenger was injured, and sued for coverage under the Shelter uninsured motorists coverage.

On appeal the Court determined and held that the term “insured” as set forth in the Shelter insurance policy, did not include a non-related “guest” passenger in the insured vehicle.  According to the Court the insurance policy meets the statutory requirement which requires the uninsured motorists coverage to be afforded to those persons defined as an “insured” under the policy.

Shelter Insurance May Be Only Company With this Type of Policy

The Court’s decision only refers to one other Court of Appeals decision which also involved Shelter Insurance Company.  Thus, it is not clear from the Court’s decision if any other insurance company’s policies are written the same way as Shelter’s.  Insurance policies are contracts which ought to be reviewed with an attorney so that you understand your legal rights.

If you or a loved one is injured in automobile accident be sure to contact a personal injury attorney.

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