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September 1, 2009

Walking into a parked auto is not being "struck" or "hit" by it

In Lewis v. Economical Insurance Group, [2009] O.J. No. 2853 (S.C.J.), Eberhard J. held that there is no coverage for walking into a parked car under the uninsured provisions of the Standard Automobile Policy (s. 265 Insurance Act) or under the Family Protection endorsement (OPCF 44R).

It seems to make sense.

The plaintiff suffered injuries when she struck her head on a steel pole that was protruding from a vehicle.

The defendant insurer brought a motion for summary judgment on the basis that (i) the plaintiff had failed to establish an unidentified vehicle had been involved or could not have been ascertained and (ii) that there is no coverage in any event under the uninsured provisions policy or under OPCF 44R. The insurer won the motion on the latter issue.

The wording of the OPCF 44R endorsement is that the plaintiff is only covered if the plaintiff is not "an occupant of an automobile who is struck by an automobile".

The wording of the policy is that the plaintiff is only covered "when not in an automobile ... if hit by an unidentified or uninsured automobile" (policy).

The Court held that the meaning of hit or struck is not ambiguous: the automobile did not hit or strike the plaintiff pedestrian. The pedestrian walked into the automobile.

Here are paragraphs 9 and 10 of the Court's endorsement:

"This is quite unlike the circumstance of being hit/struck by something hit by an automobile or falling out of a moving vehicle as it is the movement of the vehicle that applies the force that gives rise to the hit/strike."

"It is also unlike the interpretation of "hit/struck" where a moving automobile created a peril which caused the insured to take evasive action which resulted in his injury. There, the visual impact of the automobile caused the injury. In the present case the Plaintiff did not see the pole and walked into it. Nothing about the automobile impacted upon the situation."


  1. Nice article.I read & enjoyed.

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