Chatman v National Union Fire Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 9/30/1993; RB #1657)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 157547; Unpublished  
Judges Shepherd, Holbrook, Jr., and MacKenzie; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt    

General Rule of Priority [§3114(1)]  
Exception for Employer Provided Vehicles [§3114(3)]  
Obligations of Admitted Insurers to Pay PIP Benefits on Behalf of Nonresidents Injured in Michigan [§3163(1)]

Not applicable    

In this per curiam unpublished Opinion, the Court of Appeals interpreted the priority provisions of §3114(3) dealing with employees injured while occupying a vehicle owned or registered by their employers, together with the provisions of §3163 governing an insurer's liability to out-of-state residents.  

In this case, plaintiff, a Louisiana resident, was a truck driver employed by an Alabama interstate carrier when he was severely injured while driving the truck in Michigan. National Union was the no-fault insurance carrier for the Alabama trucking company. At issue was whether the no-fault insurer of plaintiff’s employer was liable for plaintiffs no-fault benefits pursuant to the priority provisions of §3114(3), or whether plaintiffs personal no-fault insurance company was liable for those benefits.  

The court interpreted §3114(3) which provides that employees injured while occupying a vehicle owned or registered by their employer are entitled to PIP benefits from the insurer of the furnished vehicle. Under the facts of this case, the court determined that §3114(3) was inapplicable, because, pursuant to the decision in Parks v Detroit Automobile Inter-Insurance Exchange, 426 Mich 191 (1986), our Supreme Court held that an out-of-state vehicle not required to be registered in Michigan and not operated within the State for more than 30 days a year, is not subject to §3114(3) of the no-fault act. In this case, it was not disputed that the vehicle plaintiff was driving at the time of the accident was not required to be registered in Michigan pursuant to the no-fault act, and, therefore, the priority provisions of §3114(3) were inapplicable.   

Having determined that §3114(3) was inapplicable, the court nevertheless held that plaintiff’s employer's insurance company was obligated to pay benefits to plaintiff under §3163 of the no-fault act. That section provides that an insurer authorized to transact automobile liability insurance in this state shall file and maintain a written certification that any accidental bodily injury occurring in this state arising from the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle by an out-of-state resident who is insured under its automobile insurance policy, shall be subject to the Michigan no-fault system. In this case, plaintiff is a non-resident and defendant was a certified insurer in Michigan. Therefore, as a matter of law, defendant's insurance policy falls within the ambit of §3163(1), and under Parks, supra, §3163(1), if applicable, constitutes an alternative basis for imposing benefit payment priority upon an insurer. The obligation to pay pursuant to §3163(1) is independent of the registration requirements which affect the applicability of §3114(3). Since the requirements of §3163(1) are satisfied, the court concluded that defendant was obligated to pay plaintiff’s PIP benefits pursuant to the no-fault act.