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Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company v American International Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 8/25/2005, RB #2594)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #261227; Unpublished
Judges Zahra, Gage, and Murray; unanimous; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion courthouse graphic


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

TOPICAL INDEXING:
Workers Disability Compensation Act


CASE SUMMARY:
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam, decided without oral argument, the Court of Appeals determined a priority dispute under §3114 of the No-Fault Act, determining plaintiff was not an employee of ASAP Express, a transportation company, but rather, was an independent contractor and, therefore, her personal automobile insurer was obligated to provide her PIP benefits.

The injured party, Audrey Daniel, worked as an independent contractor for Great Lakes Drive-A-Way and received driving assignments from ASAP Express, Inc., a transportation company. Daniel was injured when her delivery van was involved in an automobile accident. Her personal automobile no-fault insurer, American International Insurance Company, denied her claim for PIP benefits on the ground she was actually an employee of ASAP and, therefore, PIP benefits were obligated to paid under the priority provisions of §3114(3), which provides that an employee who suffers accidental bodily injury while an occupant of a motor vehicle owned or registered by the employer, shall receive personal protection insurance benefits to which the employee is entitled from the insurer of the furnished vehicle.

Plaintiff’s personal auto insurer argued the “economic realities test,” set forth in Parham v Preferred Risk Mutual Insurance Company, 124 Mich App 618 (1983), set forth multi factors to determine whether a person was an employee, had been superceded by the definition of “employee” as found in the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act, MCL 418.161(n).

The court rejected the argument of American International Insurance Company that the workers’ compensation definition of employee applied in this case, holding, “This case involves the priority of insurance coverage under the no-fault act. Worker’s compensation benefits are not at issue in this case; therefore, this Court need not consider the definition of ‘employee’ found in the WDCA.”

Since the term “employee” and “employer” are not defined for purposes of the priority provisions of §3114(3), the court applied the economic realities test, as set forth in Parham, supra, requiring analysis of “(1) control of the worker’s duty; (2) payment of wages; (3) right to hire, fire, and discipline; and (4) performance of the duties as an integral part of the employer’s business toward the achievement of a common goal.” Applying these factors to the facts of this case, the court determined Daniel was indeed an independent contractor and not an employee and, therefore, her personal insurer was obligated to provide her PIP benefits.


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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