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Sadly, we live in an age were “road rage” has become a common term. Too little time and too much haste have led to an increase in these incidents, especially involving guns. The question naturally arises; what is covered by insurance in a road rage situation?
The answer begins with the statement that liability insurance does not insure against intentional acts, only accidental ones. That means that if driver A attacks driver B on purpose, it is unlikely there will be insurance for the act from driver A’s insurance. That’s why it does not cover murder or assaults.
Now, let’s get more detailed.
Driver A intentionally runs driver B off the road, causing a crash and injuries. Can driver B recover? Yes if driver B has uninsured motorist insurance.
Driver A’s policy will not pay for the damages because they were intentional, but driver B’s uninsured motorist insurance will step up to the plate because the other driver is now uninsured.
The same would be true if driver A fled the scene and was unknown because uninsured motorist insurance in Georgia covers John Doe crashes, assuming that Driver B made a report to the police and either has an eyewitness or has damage to their car that comes from an impact with the John Doe vehicle. Please note that they will not pay unless those requirements are met because of the risk of fraud.
Driver A and driver B get into a “road rage” incident and they stop their cars and driver A beats up driver B. Is there any insurance to cover this?
Probably not because the beating was intentional and it did not arise out of the use of an uninsured motor vehicle. In Mough v. Progressive Max Ins. Co., 314 Ga. App. 380, 724 S.E.2d 414 (2012), the Court observed;
“Generally, in order to take advantage of uninsured motorist coverage, your injuries must be related to the use of your vehicle and cannot be caused by the independent acts of a third party that did not arise out of the use of the vehicle.”
What about if a driver A tries to run over pedestrian B? Yes there should be uninsured motorist coverage available for the pedestrian (if they have it). Remember that uninsured motorist insurance follows the pedestrian around protecting them from any uninsured driver operating a motor vehicle.
The legal analysis is whether the injury or shooting arises out of the use of the uninsured motor vehicle.
If the occupants of one vehicle shoot at another and cause it to crash, then that is certainly an uninsured motorist claim. Ins. Co. of North America v. Dorris, 161 Ga.App. 46 (1982).
In Rustin v. State Farm, etc. Ins. Co., 254 Ga. 494 (1985), the drivers both got out of their cars and then a shooting occurred. The Court of Appeals ruled that was not covered by UM insurance because it did not result from the use of the vehicle.
In Mough v. Progressive Max Ins. Co., 314 Ga. App. 380 (2012), the shooter was the father of a lady who got followed home by a motorcyclist after a road rage incident. The father shot the motorcyclist in the driveway. The Court reasoned that the shooting was too remote from the issue of the daughter using the vehicle. There is a disconnect. If the driver of the car shot the motorcycle rider, it might be a closer call.
In Abercrombie v. Georgia Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. 216 Ga.App. 602 (1995), one car hit another and the occupants began shouting and chasing each other down the interstate in their cars. One car occupant fired shots and the other and killed someone. The Court reasoned that because it all started with a crash and the chase was in the car and the shots came from a car that the death came from the use of the uninsured vehicle.