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McFadden v Allstate Insurance Company; (COA-PUB, 10/7/1986; RB #962)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 81973; Published  
Judges Hood, Gillis, and Batzer; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 155 Mich App 266; Link to Opinion alt    

Definition of Motor Vehicle (Cranes) [§3101(2)(e)]  
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]   
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Motor Vehicle Involvement [§3105(1)]

Not Applicable    

In this unanimous per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals denied no-fault benefits to the operator of a mobile crane. The crane in question was powered by a motor and rolls on wheels. It was equipped with a loading block and a boom. In its "travel mode" the crane travels on the highway by special permit at speeds of 30-40 miles perhour. Once at the job site, the crane is immobilized and outriggers are activated and large counterweights are placed on the crane to further stabilize it during "the pick." To prepare for highway travel after a "pick," the outriggers are withdrawn, the counterweights removed and the crane is locked in position. In the instant case, the "pick" had been completed. The outriggers were withdrawn and the crane was locked in place. The mobile crane was then driven under its own power for approximately 100 yards on private property to a place where the counterweights could be removed so that the crane would be ready for highway travel. It was during the removal of the counterweights that plaintiff was injured.

In reversing the trial court's finding that the mobile crane was a motor vehicle because it was designed for highway operation in its travel mode, the Court of Appeals relied in part, but not totally, upon the prior decision in Johnston v Hartford Insurance Company (Item No. 709). The Court concluded that:

"Since the mobile crane was not operated on a public highway at the time of plaintiff’s injury, our focus is on the question of whether it was designed for operation upon a public highway. It was so designed, but only when in its highway configuration or mode. It was not in its highway mode at the time plaintiff sustained his injuries. Thus, it was not at that time designed for operation upon the highways and was not a motor vehicle within the meaning of §3101(2)(c). . . . We hold that a vehicle from which injuries arise must be operated on the highway or be designed for operation on the highway at the time of the injury in order for recovery of §3105 benefits."

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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