NJ Accident Lawyer Phantom Tire Case


NJ Accident Lawyer Argues Phantom Tire Uninsured Motorist Case

A NJ accident lawyer will sometimes have a client who literally doesn’t know what hit her. For example, she was involved in a motor vehicle accident. But the other car sped away and no one knows who the driver was. In such a case, if the victim has purchased uninsured motorist coverage on her own car insurance policy, that coverage may compensate her for her injuries. (For that reason, it is important that one purchase enough coverage to obtain compensation for a severe injury. Ideally, this would mean at least $500,000 in coverage).

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A woman named Marie purchased uninsured motorist coverage.  Her insurer was Allstate Insurance Company. Marie was injured when the car she was driving struck a car tire and rim.  It was lying in the northbound lane of Highway 35 in Belmar. She did not see the tire and rim fall off of any vehicle.

Allstate refused to pay Marie compensation. So Marie hired a NJ accident lawyer to sue Allstate for uninsured motorist coverage.

Allstate claimed that, under the law, underinsured motorist coverage is  “insurance for … bodily injury … resulting from an accident arising out of the … use of an underinsured motor vehicle.”  Marie could not say where the tire came from. More specifically, she didn’t see it come off of any motor vehicle. Therefore, argued Allstate, Marie was not entitled to any uninsured motorist compensation.

The judge agreed with Allstate. He booted the case out of court before trial. Marie appealed. But to no avail. The appeals judges agreed with the trial court. The efforts of Marie’s NJ accident lawyer had been in vain.


I disagree with these rulings. A party suing in a civil accident case is only required to prove that it was more likely than not that what she is asserting is true. Common sense, it seems to me, tells one that a tire lying on a highway probably fell off a vehicle. At the very least, the judge should have let a jury decide the issue.

The appeals court ruling is published on this site.


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