Wayne County Circuit Court; Docket No. 83-326423-NI;____
Judge William L. Cahalan;
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: ____; Link to Opinion
Security Requirement Applicable for Highway Use [§3101(1)]
Definition of Motor Vehicle (General) [§3101(2)(e)]
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]
Exclusion for Parked Vehicles Covered by Workers Comp [§3106(2)]
Nature of Survivor’s Loss Benefits [§3108(1)]
In this written Opinion, Judge Cahalan granted defendant's motion for summary judgment thereby denying no-fault benefits to the surviving spouse of an employee who was killed in the process of loading a semi-tractor-trailer by driving an automobile chassis onto the lower portion of the trailer. The employee struck a hydraulic line causing the trailer to collapse upon him, thereby resulting in his death. In holding that survivor's loss benefits were not recoverable, Judge Cahalan made several rulings.
First, he held that the subject chassis that decedent was operating was not a motor vehicle pursuant to §3101(lXc) for the reason that it was not operated or primarily designed for operation upon a public highway. Therefore, decedents use of the chassis did not entitle him to benefits.
Second, Judge Cahalan ruled that decedent's operation/use of the semi-tractor-trailer did not entitle his spouse to recover survivor's loss benefits for the reason that decedent is disqualified by the parked vehicle/workers' comp exclusive remedy provisions of §3106(2). This provision applies in that decedent was in the process of loading the chassis onto the tractor-trailer in the course of his employment at the time he was fatally injured.
Third, Judge Cahalan ruled that decedent could not escape application of §3106(2) by arguing that his accident involved "another vehicle," for the reason that the word "vehicle" refers to another "motor vehicle" and the chassis is not such a vehicle.