Bither v. Country Mut. Ins. Co

In Bither v. Country Mut. Ins. Co., 226 Ariz. 198, 200,8, 245 P.3d 883, 885 (App. 2010), a mother sought wrongful-death uninsured motorist ("UM") benefits after her daughter died in a car accident. Bither, 226 Ariz. at 199,3, 245 P.3d at 884. The daughter was a passenger in a car driven by her friend, whose parents had purchased a policy with UM coverage. Id. at2. As an occupant of the car, the daughter was an "insured" within the meaning of the policy. Id. at 200,6, 245 P.3d at 885. The insurer argued 20-259.03 precluded payment of benefits to the mother for the wrongful death of her daughter. The Court agreed, noting that "the clear legislative mandate of A.R.S. 20-259.03 is to preclude recovery of UM benefits by a statutory beneficiary who is not also an insured under the policy." Id. at11. The mother could not recover UM benefits because even though she had a statutory wrongful-death claim pursuant to A.R.S. 12-612, she was not "a surviving insured" within the meaning of the policy. Id. at 201,11, 245 P.3d at 886.