This Bloomberg story is fascinating: Canada’s Supreme Court overturned lower courts that had required insurers to pay for losses arising "directly or indirectly" from the use of an automobile in the following situations:
Todd Farmer and Anthony Raynor, high on drugs and alcohol, dropped a 30-pound boulder from an overpass onto a passing car. The men were later convicted and sentenced to prison. Damages suffered by the driver were assessed at $996,850, plus interest. Farmer’s auto insurance had a policy limit of $25,000.
Farmer transported rocks to the overpass in the back of his truck, which the Canadian court of appeal said was enough to trigger the auto insurance coverage.
In a 1999 hunting case, Ontario resident Fred Wolfe arrived at a designated stand before sunrise and saw a flash of white in the headlights of his truck. Wolfe was outside his vehicle. He fired his gun and shot Harold Herbison, a member of his hunting party, about 1000 feet from the vehicle. The court of appeal also said this was sufficient connection to the use of a vehicle to trigger coverage.
You know, when you think how much we use our cars, it doesn’t take too much creativity to find a link, direct or indirect, between any injury and an automobile. I once ripped the leg of my pants at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game, which I would not have been at if my brother-in-law hadn’t driven me there. A link? Oh yes. The only question in my mind is whether the link is direct or indirect.
Incidentally, here in the U.S., there are frequent disputes about when someone "occupies" a vehicle, a concept with a similar ability to expand or contract, depending on who is doing the judging. If a person is not a first named insured on a policy, UIM coverage is often available only if the person occupies the vehicle. Some courts say that standing near a car after an accident is not occupying it. Some say that being crushed between two vehicles is occupying one of them. Some say that a fall on ice near the rear of a vehicle you are unloading is not occupying the vehicle. The scenarios go on and on. I’ve never looked to see if there is one, but I presume that somewhere, someone got roped into writing a 600-page ALR entry on this very subject, compiling the seemingly endless variety of ways humans can be injured in proximity to cars.