Common sense prevailed in the published Court of Appeals opinion of Dancey v Travelers Property Casualty Co, issued April 6, 2010. In that case, a motorist was injured in single-vehicle accident after her vehicle hit a ladder lying in the roadway. Her insurance company denied her uninsured motorist benefits (which covers situations where there is a hit-and-run vehicle or where there is no direct physical contact with the hit-and-run vehicle). The insurance company argued that the insured was not entitled to benefits because she "no one could affirmatively state that the ladder fell off another vehicle."
After reviewing a series of older appellate decisions, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision denying summary disposition. Even though none of the witnesses saw the ladder falling off a particular passing vehicle, the location of the ladder at the intersection of two freeways "supports an inference that the ladder in question must have fallen off another vehicle." The Court held that a jury could find that there was a substantial physical nexus between a hit-and-run vehicle and the ladder struck by plaintiff.