Lisa Marakis made a mistake six years ago when she decided to swerve out of the way of a car coming head-on in the wrong lane, according to her insurance company.
Because she missed the car, went off the road and ran into a fence, Marakis could not collect damages, said State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. officials. Their policy clearly states that hit-and-run accidents only count if there is a hit. The car that caused Marakis' accident never touched her. It sped off and never was identified.But the Utah Supreme Court, by a 4-1 decision announced Monday, has ruled State Farm should pay Marakis' claims despite the wording of its policy.
"Marakis should not be barred from relief by her . . . unwillingness to collide with the vehicle which caused the accident," said the decision, written by Chief Justice Gordon R. Hall.
A lower court had ruled in favor of the insurance company.
State legislators passed a law in 1985, three years after Marakis' accident, that covers accidents caused by a car that speeds away without touching anyone. But that law was not retroactive.