Whether Motor Vehicle in “Use” at Time of Accident Generally Question of Fact

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently issued two opinions addressing the question of when an incident arises out of the “use” of a motor vehicle for purposes of UM coverage.

In Mough v. Progressive Max Ins. Co., a man was shot and killed while riding his motorcycle.  The motorcyclist was involved in a road-rage incident and was clipped by the driver of another vehicle. Id. at *1.  After following the driver of the vehicle to her house, the motorcyclist was shot and killed by the driver’s father. Id.

The motorcyclist’s policy provided uninsured motorist coverage for injury arising out of the “use” of an uninsured motor vehicle. Id. at *1.  The motorcyclist’s parents argued that his death arose out of the “use” of the driver’s vehicle because “without [the vehicle] leading [the motorcyclist] to the barrel of [the shooter’s gun], the occasion for [the motorcyclist] to be shot and killed would not have occurred.” Id.

The Georgia Court of Appeals noted that “‘arising out of’ does not equal proximate cause or require that the injury be directly caused by the use of a vehicle; only a ‘slight causal connection’ between the damages and the use of the vehicle is required.” Id.

In cases involving shootings, the “general rule is that where a connection appears between the ‘use’ of the vehicle and the discharge of the firearm and resulting injury, such as to render it more likely that the one grew out of the other, it comes within the coverage defined.” Id.

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