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Williams v Citizens Mutual Insurance Company; (COA-PUB, 1/9/1980; RB #267)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 44142; Published  
Judges Maher, MacKenzie, and Piercey; Unanimous; Per Curiam    
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 94 Mich App 762; Link to Opinion alt   

Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]  
PIP Benefits for Bystander Psychological Injuries [3105(1)]

Not Applicable   

In a unanimous per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed a denial of no-fault benefits to a plaintiff mother who became psychologically disabled and unable to work as a result of the auto accident death of her daughter. The Court held that the mother's disability was not one "arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle" as required by §3105(1) of the statute. On the contrary, the mother's injury arose out of the death of her daughter which in turn arose out of the operation of a motor vehicle.

The Court noted that "the term 'arising out of' does not necessitate a finding that the injury was directly and proximately caused by the use of the vehicle. On the other hand, it cannot be extended to something distinctly remote. Each case depends upon its own fact. . . .As a general rule, the injury must be foreseeably identifiable with the normal use of the vehicle." Under the facts of this particular case, the Court found that the causal relation between the auto accident and plaintiff’s injury was sufficiently remote to warrant denial of liability. However, the Court specifically stated that they did not reach the issue of whether or not plaintiff mother would have a right to recover no-fault benefits "had she witnessed the accident or became aware of it at a time fairly contemporaneously with it." Thus, the possibility of recovery under those circumstances was not foreclosed.

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