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King v Westfield Insurance Company and General Casualty Insurance Company and Indiana Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 11/4/2004, RB #2508)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 247451; Unpublished
Judges Borrello, Murray, and Fort Hood; unanimous; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion


STATUTORY INDEXING: 
Exception for Employer Provided Vehicles [3114(3)]

TOPICAL INDEXING: 
Not applicable 


CASE SUMMARY:   
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion involving a priority dispute, the Court of Appeals ruled that PIP benefits were not payable under the provisions of §3114(3) which controls situations where the injured person is occupying a vehicle furnished by his employer, for the reason that the plaintiff in this case was not an “employee” at the time of his injury.  Rather, the court held that plaintiff was an independent contractor and, therefore, the provisions of §3114(3) did not apply.  In so holding, the court stated:

“‘Employee’ is not defined in the statute, and the economic realities test has been applied as the standard to determine the existence of an employment relationship based on the no-fault act.  To determine the existence of an employee relationship, the following factors are considered:  (1) control of the worker’s duties; (2) payment of wages; (3) right to hire, fire and discipline; and (4) the extent the duties performed are an integral part of the employer’s business toward achieving a common goal.  An independent contractor is ‘one who, carrying on an independent business, contracts to do work without being subject to the right of control by the employer as to the method of work but only as to the result to be accomplished.’  Applying the facts to the law, the trial court erred in concluding that plaintiff was an employee of Wiese Oldsmobile.  Plaintiff was furnished a vehicle to drive to a location to pick up another vehicle.  To the extent a second driver was needed for the return vehicle, plaintiff was able to select the person who would accompany him on the trip.  There was little control executed over the method of picking up and returning the vehicle.  Plaintiff was able to select the route there and back and was not given time constraints.  Moreover, plaintiff was able to have other employment, with the florist, and could reject any vehicle assignment given by Wiese Oldsmobile.  Although Wiese Oldsmobile dictated the appropriate fee based on the distance of the trip, all drivers were paid a flat rate without any withdrawal of the appropriate taxes.  Under the circumstances, the relationship between plaintiff and Wiese Oldsmobile was one of independent contractor, not employee-employer.”


Lansing car accident lawyer Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit SinasDramis.com.

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