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Yost v League General Insurance Co and Massachusetts Indemnity and Life Insurance Co; (COA-PUB, 9/1/1995; RB #1813)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 158178; Published  
Judges Hood, MacKenzie, and Thomas; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  213 Mich App 183; Link to Opinion alt   

Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]  
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Transportational Function Requirement [§3105(1)]  
Exclusion for Vehicles Considered Parked [§3106(1)]  
Exception for Occupying [§3106(1)(c)]

Not Applicable    

In this unanimous published per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals denied no-fault PIP benefits to a plaintiff who sustained severe burn injuries while sleeping in a parked car that caught fire. The fire was ignited when a lit cigarette fell on combustible material inside the car. There was no indication that the car was the source of the fire. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's denial of no-fault benefits to plaintiff under the provisions of §3105(1) and §3106(l)(c). The court acknowledged that this parked vehicle fell into the "occupying exception" of §3106(l)(c). However, even though the injury occurred while the plaintiff was occupying the vehicle, the injury must also satisfy the causation standards of §3105(1) which require that the injury arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle "as a motor vehicle." In this case, this injury did not satisfy that causation test. In so holding, the court stated:

"It is undisputed that, because plaintiff was occupying the vehicle at the time he was injured, an exception to the parked vehicle exclusion applies.... However, as a matter of law, plaintiff has failed to establish that the car was being used as a motor vehicle when the accident occurred. When the car caught fire, it was being used as nothing more than a bed. Unlike the situation in Engwis v Michigan Mutual [Item No. 1311] and McKenzie v Auto Club [Item No. 1794], there was nothing distinctive about the car, such as sleeping accommodations, that invited its use as a bed. The relation of plaintiff s burn injuries to the car's functional use as a motor vehicle was at most merely fortuitous; the injuries could have occurred as easily on a couch in his own living room. Because there was no connection between plaintiffs injuries and the car's character as a motor vehicle, the trial court correctly granted summary disposition in favor of defendant."

Michigan auto accident attorney 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

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