Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 129212; Published
Judges Doctoroff, Murphy, and Cavanagh; Unanimous; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 197 Mich App 609; Link to Opinion
Exclusion for Parked Vehicles Covered by Workers Comp [§3106(2)]
In this per curiam published Opinion, interpreting the parked vehicle provisions of §3106(2)(a), the Court of Appeals affirmed plaintiff s entitlement to recover personal injury protection benefits in a case where she suffered a fractured ankle while unloading a bundle of steel from a truck. Plaintiff was on the bed of the truck seeking to free the bundle that was being unloaded with the assistance of a crane. The crane had a boom attached which was used to lift the load off the bed of the truck. Plaintiff had the duty of attaching the boom to the load so that it could be lifted by the crane. The load to which the boom was attached became lodged underneath the remainder of steel, and when plaintiff attempted to dislodge the load, the crane operator lifted the load which sprung free and pushed plaintiff off the truck resulting in her injury.
Plaintiff received medical and wage loss benefits through her employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier. However, she filed a claim for additional wage loss benefits from defendant under an insurance policy issued to plaintiff’s mother.
The Court of Appeals held that plaintiff’s claim was controlled by the parked vehicle provisions of §3106(2)(a). That section provides that accidental bodily injury does not arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a parked vehicle as a motor vehicle if benefits are available under the workers' compensation act to an employee who sustains the injury in the course of her employment while loading, unloading, or doing mechanical work on a vehicle unless the injury arose from the use or operation of another vehicle.
Construing the above provisions of §3106(2)(a), the court held that the claimant may recover both workers' compensation benefits and benefits under the no-fault act if the conditions of that section are met. The clear language of the statutory provision states that recovery will be precluded "unless the injury arose from the use or operation of another vehicle." The Court of Appeals refused to construe the reference to "another vehicle" to require that the other vehicle be another "motor vehicle." The court held that "another vehicle" is not necessarily synonymous with "motor vehicle" and that the use of the simple term "vehicle" appears to be more expansive than the term "motor vehicle." Therefore, the crane which was used in assisting the unloading operation was another "vehicle" within the meaning of the statutory provision, so as not to preclude plaintiff from recovering additional no-fault benefits.
As a predicate to its holding, the court further held that, in accordance with the Supreme Court decision in Winter v Automobile Club of Michigan, 433 Mich 446 (1989) (Item No. 1293), it was not necessary for the court to make a determination whether §3105(1) must also be satisfied prior to determining the applicability of the parked vehicle exclusion. The provisions of §3105(1) would ordinarily require that accidental bodily injury arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a "motor vehicle as a motor vehicle" in order for plaintiff to recover. However, the court stated that in Winter, supra, the Supreme Court held that where an injury arises from the use of a vehicle that is parked, if the circumstances under which the accident occurred are such that they implicate one of the enumerated exceptions to the parked vehicle exclusion, recovery may be had without consideration of whether the vehicle was being used as a "motor vehicle" under §3105(1).