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National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburg v. Fisher, 692 A.2d 892 (Del. Supr. 1997)

Police officer sued insurer that had issued business automobile insurance policy covering his patrol vehicle, seeking uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for injuries that occurred when he exited his patrol vehicle to investigate suspicious vehicle in parking lot and was struck by that vehicle. In the context of triggering entitlement to UM/UIM and/or PIP coverage, the insurance policy defined the term "occupying" to mean "in, upon, getting in, on, out or off." In determining whether the police officer was an "occupant" of the vehicle, thus triggering UM/UIM or PIP coverage, the Court utilized the following test "a person is considered an occupant of the covered vehicle is he or she is either: a) within a reasonable geographic perimeter of the vehicle or 2) engaged in a task related to the operation of the vehicle." The Court held that to meet the "within a reasonable geographic perimeter" prong of the test the claimant must be "in, entering, exiting, touching or within reach of the covered vehicle." The Court found that this prong was not met because the police officer was between 10 to 25 feet from his patrol vehicle when the accident occurred. Further, the Court found that the police officer was not "engaged in a task related to the operation of the vehicle," at the time of the accident, because he was not "using his patrol car for communication, for apprehension, detention or transportation of suspects, for protection from small arms fire, or for chasing the suspicious vehicle." In summary, the Delaware Supreme Court held that police officer was not "occupant" of patrol vehicle when collision occurred, and thus he was not entitled to UM/UIM or PIP coverage under policy at issue.

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