During my years of personal injury practice, I have come across situation where someone is injured as a result of some assault or other intentional act. I would even come across situations where someone was injured in a “road-rage” incident, or when an injury occurs as a result of someone who intentionally hits someone with their car. When this happens, the concern is whether there will be any insurance coverage for the incident. The answer to that question depends on the type of coverage you are dealing with, and whether you are the actor or the injured victim.
Liability Coverage: Every auto insurance policy provides for liability coverage. Liability coverage covers an individual when that person causes injury or damage as a result of a car accident. But, every liability policy will have an exception for incidents caused by the “intentional acts of the insured.” For example, if you have just had an argument with your friends and get into your car to leave, you cannot intentionally hit them with your car. Not only would this be a crime, you also run the risk that your insurance company will deny you coverage for the injuries you caused. Not only will you be left exposed to a claim by the injured party without the legal protection of your insurance company, you will not have the benefit of your insurance company trying to resolve the claim or paying any judgment rendered against you.
Other Coverages: If you are the victim of an intentional act, then you will still have coverage under your own policy, such as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Uninsured/Under-Insured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). The key here is that you were not the one who committed the act. Likewise, your own insurance coverages would still apply to your claims.
For example, if you are intentionally struck by someone’s car and have bodily injuries, you will probably try to make a liability claim under the other driver’s policy . Their insurance company will likely deny coverage for the other driver due to the fact that the driver acted intentionally in causing the injury. That driver now becomes an “uninsured motorist.” Therefore, you can make a claim under the UM portion of your own policy since you did nothing intentionally.
The same is true for PIP coverage. Because you were injured as result of an automobile collision, you can make a claim under your PIP coverage. This is because you did not commit the intentional act and are, therefore, not excluded from coverage.
So, it all comes down to this: If you are the one who acted intentionally, then you will likely not have coverage from your own insurance company for any injuries that you cause. And you may even be denied coverage for the damage to your own car, leaving you to absorb the entire loss.