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Allstate Insurance Company and Wilson v Ulrich; (COA-UNP, 7/31/2001, RB #2230)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #222261; Unpublished 
Judges Collins, Hoekstra and Gage; unanimous; per curiam 
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion alt

Exception for Motorcycle Injuries [3114(5)]

No-Fault Insurer Claims for Reimbursement: Insurer Unequal Priority Reimbursement

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals held that a truck was “involved in the accident” within the meaning of 3114(5)(a) of the No-Fault Act, even though there was no contact between the defendant owner’s truck and the motorcycle that went out of control while attempting to avoid a collision with the truck.

Allstate Insurance Company sought reimbursement of no-fault benefits that it had paid on behalf of the injured motorcyclist. Allstate had paid as a second priority insurer pursuant to 3114(5)(a), as the insurer of the operator of the motor vehicle involved in the accident. Allstate claimed that the defendant truck owner was a first priority insurer pursuant to 3114(5)(a), as the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved in the accident. The owner of the truck claimed that it was not “involved in the accident” within the meaning of 3114(5)(a), and therefore, was not obligated to pay the benefits.

In reversing the trial court’s grant of summary disposition in favor of the truck owner, the Court of Appeals held that the defendant’s truck was involved in the accident, because the truck actively contributed to the accident, notwithstanding that the actions of its driver may have been lawful or that its driver may not have been at fault. Although no contact occurred between the truck and the motorcycle, the facts indicate that the motorcyclist, who was traveling on the gravel shoulder along the truck’s right side, lost control of the motorcycle while attempting to avoid a collision with the truck which was in the process of making a right turn into the motorcyclist’s path. Citing from Turner v Auto Club Insurance Association, 448 Mich 22 (1995) [Item No. 1757], the Court of Appeals stated that for a vehicle to be considered “involved in the accident,” the motor vehicle, being operated or used as a motor vehicle, “must actively, as opposed to passively, contribute to the accident.... Moreover, physical contact is not required to establish that the vehicle was ‘involved in the accident’, nor is fault a relevant consideration in the determination whether a vehicle is ‘involved in the accident.’”

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