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Mike Myers
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Parkland Man Killed on I-5–UIM Benefits if Insured Outside of Car?

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A Parkland man died Tuesday after a pickup truck hit him as he changed a flat tire on northbound Interstate 5 in Tacoma.

The man, 48, was changing the tire on the road’s right shoulder just south of the South 84th Street exit about 2:10 p.m. when a 44-year-old Gig Harbor man driving a pickup drifted into him. Medics took the injured man to Madigan Army Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

Sometimes adjusters just don’t know better. Other times they try to trick their (unrepresented) insureds. So you have to know the rule. Physical and psychological damages are recoverable under your UIM policy even if you are outside your vehicle when the accident occurred.

The issue of whether an insured was using a vehicle is such a common inquiry that Washington Courts have established a four-factor test:

(1) there must be a causal relation or connection between the injury and the use of the insured vehicle; (2) the person asserting coverage must be in reasonably close geographic proximity to the insured vehicle, although the person need not be actually touching it; (3) the person must be vehicle oriented rather than highway or sidewalk oriented at the time; and (4) the person must also be engaged in a transaction essential to the use of the vehicle.”

Butzberger v. Foster, 151 Wash.2d 396, 402, 89 P.3d 689 (2004) (quoting Rau v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 21 Wn. App. 326, 334, 585 P.2d 157 (1978)).