Minervini v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co.
A pick-up truck may not qualify as a hit-and-run motor vehicle, if the driver stops after a collision. Allegedly, the plaintiff's decedent was in a parking lot when a pick-up truck backed into the decedent, who was on foot. The driver stopped the truck and exited his vehicle, to speak to the plaintiff's decedent. The driver waited for another individual to arrive, assisted the other individual and left. The driver did not inform the plaintiff's decedent of his name, and the plaintiff's decedent did not memorize the driver's license plate. The plaintiff's decedent belatedly realized that he was injured, and someone called the police. The plaintiff administratrix sued the defendant insurance company for uninsured-motorist benefits. The insurer moved for summary judgment and argued that the pick-up truck did not qualify as a "hit-and-run" motor vehicle. The policy identifies an uninsured-motor vehicle in part as "a hit-and-run motor vehicle which causes bodily injury to an insured person with or without physical contact with the insured person or with a vehicle occupied by that person. The identity of the operator and the owner of the vehicle must be unknown." In Sylvestre v. United Services Automobile Association Casualty Ins., a 1996 decision, the Connecticut Appellate Court wrote, "`Hit-and-run,' as it refers to the driver of a vehicle, has been defined as `guilty of leaving the scene of an accident without stopping to render assistance or to comply with legal requirements.' " In Sylvestre, the Appellate Court concluded, "Because the driver of the vehicle that struck the plaintiff stopped to render assistance and because the plaintiff affirmatively acted to dismiss the driver from the scene of the accident, we conclude that the plaintiff was not struck by a hit and run vehicle." Here, the Connecticut Superior Court found that the Sylvestre decision was on point, and it granted the insurer's motion for