UM Case Involving a "No Contact" Hit and Run

My client was injured when a car she was traveling behind kicked up debris which she swerved to miss. Is there anything special about how I plead the facts in the petition against the UM carrier?

Answer:
No. It’s just like a no-contact hit-and-run. The vehicle that left the debris on the road is the uninsured or under insured vehicle. The usual issue is a policy provision that there is no coverage unless there is “actual physical contact” with the uninsured vehicle. This is declared invalid in Biggs v. State Farm, 1977 OK 135, 569 P.2d 430: “¶16 Since the purpose of our uninsured motorist statute is to afford the same protection to a person injured by an uninsured motorist as he would have had if the negligent motorist had carried liability insurance, it would defeat the purpose of the statute to allow insurance contracts to require impact before coverage would be extended to their insured. Admittedly, the burden of proof will be upon the insured to [569 P.2d 434] show that the accident was in fact caused by an unidentified driver, but this opportunity cannot be denied just because there was no "impact" with the offending car.”

Generally the states which, like Oklahoma, invalidate the APC requirement allow recovery in “object in road” cases. See: Widiss, Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage (Revised 2nd Ed. 1999): § 9.6(3) “Accidents Involving Objects Lying on the Roadway”: Seems to be not covered if state permits “actual physical contact” provision but will be covered if state does not.