Does New York Auto Insurance Cover Vehicular Assaults in New York Pedestrian Injury Cases?

The Syracuse Post Standard reported the other day that an SUV struck a Syracuse man “on purpose” after an argument on Westcott Street Tuesday morning. Fortunately, the injuries do not appear serious; the victim suffered only cuts to his arm and leg and was taken to Upstate University Hospital.

Here’s my blog topic for today: Will a New York State car accident insurance policy cover the man’s medical expenses or anything else for that matter? Answer: No! Why not? Because this is not a New York motor vehicle “accident” case. It is a New York motor vehicle ASSAULT case. An accident is a mistake. This was no mistake. It was deliberate. No liability or car insurance on God’s earth covers for motor vehicle assaults. The reason is simple: Insurance companies don’t want people buying insurance policies so they can go out and deliberately bowl people over, and force the insurance company to pay!

Even if the victim owns his own car, his own SUM (supplemental uninsured motorist) coverage won’t cover his injuries here, again because it was an “assault”, not an “accident”. To summarize: He can forget about auto insurance coverage of any kind!

So how will this poor guy get his medical bills paid? Hopefully, he has private health insurance, but if not, he will have to pay himself, or if he can’t, he will have to apply for Medicaid. If he is of a certain age, or if he is already disabled, perhaps Medicare will pick up the tab.

This reminds me of a New York car-strikes-pedestrian case I tried in front of a Cayuga County jury several years ago. My client was a “meter man” in Auburn, New York As he was writing a car up for an expired parking meter, the car’s owner showed up, got angry about it, and deliberately backed up into my client while he was copying down the license plate number. My client ended up with a knee injury. I was afraid the guy’s auto insurer would disclaim coverage based on “assault” or “intentional act”, but fortunately, the angry man claimed it was an accident (yeah, right . . . ), and told his insurance carrier so (because he wanted insurance coverage). My client lucked out on that one, because if the driver had admitted he had backed up to “get even” with my client, insurance coverage would have been denied.

Doesn’t look like this car assault victim in Syracuse will be so lucky.

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